Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Country Roads Revisited - Bloggers Quilt Festival

Good morning!  My second entry in this year's Bloggers Quilt Festival is in the Small Quilts category.

This little quilt is my version of Lori DeJarnatt's (Humble Quilts) quilt-along from last fall. We were traveling at the time, so my chosen fabrics are a mix of some purchases while in Oregon and scraps from previous quilts.
Though I love cheddars, I've not used too much in prior quilts, but instantly fell in love with this background fabric and a coordinating black and cheddar print that had been waiting in my fat quarter stash tote.

I hand quilted this little quilt using a portion of a large stencil in the cheddar squares and corners, with a simple ditch and cross-hatch in the blocks, and diagonal lines in the outer border.

This is one of my favorite little quilts, finishing at 25 inches square.  I used Hobbs Polydown batting, and Aurifil 28 wt. thread for most of the quilting.

I found this lovely old toile in one of the stash bins, and there was just enough for the back.

A lot of quilters participated in Lori's fun quilt-along last year.  I wonder if we'll see more Country Roads quilts appearing in this years Bloggers Festival.
Time for another cup of coffee and off to see some of the other entries!  This is a great week for meeting new (to me) bloggers!

Bloggers Quilt Festival - A Scrappy Baby Quilt

The Bloggers Quilt Festival is in full swing this week, and I'll start this post by thanking Amy for once again hosting this super-fun event!  I've met so many wonderful quilters over the past few years through this festival, and I'm sure this year will be no different.

If you're like me, when you hear "scrappy quilt" you might think of traditional  dark reds, browns, greens and golds in a star or strippy setting. This would not be that quilt.


This happy baby quilt was made early this past spring for a young woman in our church who was expecting her first daughter who we welcomed in late May. It is composed of 4-1/2 inch squares drawn from my stash and scrap totes. The 1-1/2 inch wide block borders are also from those same scrap totes. I must say this has quickly become my favorite go-to pattern for a quick and easy (and FUN) baby quilt, as the possibilities seem endless - and whose totes/bins/bags of scraps don't seem to be endless!
A frosty early morning photo shoot.

I quilted this on my Janome 7700 domestic machine, quilting in the ditch along each border edge and again around each of the 4-1/2 inch squares, just enough quilting to define the squares yet leave the finished quilt soft and cuddly. The batting is Hobbs Polydown and the quilt was stitched with Aurifil 50 wt. thread. The finished size is 35-1/2 by 41-1/2 inches, small enough for a newborn, and not too large for a toddler to drag around the house.
A closer look

This was a fun, as well as quick and easy quilt to make!


Please check out all the other fabulous entries in the scrappy quilt category and all the other categories of this year's Bloggers Quilt Festival.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Westering Women - Y-Seams and Other Fun Things

Our Westering Women block for August was named for Chimney Rock in far northwest Nebraska along the Oregon Trail.  This seemingly easy appearing block is actually a tough one for many quilters with a multitude of Y-seams.  I've always dreaded avoided blocks with Y-seams but didn't really know what the source of my angst was until fairly recently, when I finally figured out that the issue is spatial dyslexia!  But not wanting to wimp out and choose the supposedly easier substitute version with no Y-seams but a gazillion tiny triangles, once the printer (and operator) finally figured out how to print the templates the proper size, we tackled this block just before supper today.  And, of course, the Y-seams were a piece of cake, but arranging the puzzle pieces with the proper angles facing - not so much!

Anyhoo, after a few minor episodes of frog-stitching, here's the finished block, almost perfectly square and even the right finished size - yay!

And the year's tally to date.

Now, for the real fun part of this post - Kyle Redente of Timeless Reflections blog hosted a blogaversary giveaway a couple weeks back, and I was the lucky winner of one of the prizes - this sweet charm pack of holiday fabrics and a quilt pattern!

Christmas placemats are now on my list of projects for later this year as soon as the two grandbaby quilts are finished and gifted.  This morning I showed the pattern to our quilt ministry group and they are all wanting to try this pattern for some of our comfort quilts! Thank you Kyle!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Another Baby Quilt Started

Yesterday was the first time in almost two months that I had nearly the entire day to spend in the sewing room. Much needed! I've missed my time with the old Singer 301 quietly stitching away, with time to daydream and just unwind from the frenetic pace of late. Today I'll be back in the kitchen again, canning ever-more salsa. The tomatoes are reaching their peak now - late for most parts of the country but here in western New York we're happy just to have the bulk of them ripen before the first frost! We've had an abundant crop this year, so thankful for that as there's almost nothing quite as good as opening a jar of homemade salsa on a January afternoon.

So, yesterday's sewing project was to get a start on another quilt for the new grandbaby. My daughter chose a woodland theme for his nursery, and fell in love with the focus fabric in this quilt. I had exactly one-half yard of this fabric, and every single inch of it was used in the four wide panels. Here's where we are at this writing - the center is completed and the last borders are started but not ready to add to the design wall quite yet.
The colors aren't quite true as it was a dark and dreary evening when these photos were taken.

The pattern named "Ducklets" appeared in a Quilters Newsletter publication last year called Best Kids Quilts. I've modified the pattern somewhat, adding those narrow dark reddish brown strips separating the deer panels from the center block. The strips will make another appearance in the final borders, and I've cut every inch of the half-yard I had of that fabric too!  Funny how these things just work out sometimes.  Hubby's comment on seeing this much of the top "I'll have to get you to make me some targets." Right!

A closer view

I'm dawdling getting started on my Westering Women block this month, but will have to face all those Y-seams eventually!  Maybe next week...

Thursday, September 1, 2016

August Quilty 365 and Grandbaby's flimsy

Welcome September and the start of my favorite season of the year!  Cooler days, the harvest season in full swing, the gathering-in of all manner of the season's bounty, crisp clear skies, and the glorious hues of the sugar maples followed by the quieter bronzes of the oak trees, long rides through the countryside -- it just doesn't get better than this.

Grandbaby #8's first quilt top is now complete and awaiting backing and sandwiching, then some time under the needle.  This baby's quilt will be machine quilted since they live in an apartment with shared washer and dryer of unknown quality, and there are also pets in the family who undoubtedly will wrongly assume the quilt is theirs and snuggle into it every chance they get!

I was looking for a simple and graphic design for these fabrics, part of a fat quarter bundle.  I loved the simplicity of this pattern, as it went together quickly in those 10 and 15 minute snatches of time over several days. I found the pattern designed by Vanessa Goertzen in the February/March 2012 issue of McCall's Quick Quilts.

I love the white sashing and border fabric, the texture resembles a beautiful linen.  I hope you can see a bit of the texture in the next photo when it's enlarged.

I believe August 31 marked Day 299 in my Quilty 365 adventure. A little over two more months and the first goal will have been met!  I plan to stop at 366 circles and wait and see if any additional ones will be required to make the quilt top, though right now I'm thinking there may be extras since the plan is to place a narrow sashing around the squares and set them on point.  Haven't had time to do all the math and sketch out this setting option yet.    Anyway, here are the August circles, plus a couple of favorites for the month.




Over the weekend we harvested much of the garden basil and made three big batches of pesto to freeze for the winter months.  I also picked mostof the dillweed, cut and packaged them in freezer bags for our favorite dill bread and dill-mustard sauce for fish.  The tomato canning is in high gear these days, and I find myself wishing there were many extra hands to help with the prepping and processing.  It really has a way of cutting into the quilting time doesn't it?!

I'll be linking up with Audrey at Quilty Folk where other intrepid circlers will soon be posting their progress.

I'll leave you with my favorite tomato pick of the year so far, which alas ended up in a canning jar along with the rest of its less glamorous friends.  I would have taken this one to the county fair had it ripened a month sooner!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Plain and Simple Stitching

With the beginning of the new school year members of our church gather school supplies and prepare school kits that are distributed worldwide by the Mennonite Central Committee to children who might not have the means to purchase these supplies.  They are packed in washable cloth drawstring bags so that the children have a way to keep their school supplies in one place and easily carry them back and forth to school each day.

Yesterday at quilt ministry we cut up a pair of donated tab curtains into ten long rectangles.  The curtains were made of a denim-type fabric, more suited to this purpose than to quilt making.  After cutting and then folding/pressing the edges for the first stitching, the other ladies were working on binding their current projects so I brought the bags home to finish assembling.   Here are the first five, completed last night, minus their drawstring ties.  Another member is bringing her supply of macrame cord and we will string the bags at our next meeting.
Plain and Simple!

The kitchen has been a whirlwind of activity so far this week with the tomatoes ripening at a faster pace than I can keep up. After giving away the first large batch to one daughter who just moved and had no garden this summer, we began canning some for our winter pantry. So far 14 pints of plain stewed tomatoes and 7 1/2 jars of the most wonderful tomato jam. Here's what awaits when I return from my haircut later this morning - today's haul is destined for salsa and we'll try another batch of tomato jam using some of the Lemon Boys.  Thankfully our forecast is for cooler days soon, and I'll be thankful for a cool breeze blowing through the kitchen while we're working on these and the rest of the crop.

The sunflowers are heavy with seeds, some have begun to fall over from the weight, and a small flock of goldfinches have returned to snack on the seeds.  Our sugar pumpkin crop was almost totally decimated by some type of grub, we were only able to salvage three pumpkins from that planting. We also planted a couple varieties of field pumpkins in another field, and after discovering the grub damage in the sugar pumpkin patch also discovered some damage to the others.  All the winter squash are growing alongside the field pumpkins and we feared for that crop, but decided to try setting pieces of aluminum foil under each ripening pumpkin and squash that hadn't already been damaged. Sounds strange I know, but so far it seems to be working as we haven't detected any further grub damage yet.