Thursday, November 16, 2017

Meanwhile on the Design Wall

These are hst blocks stitched together during our quilt group this week, slapped up on the design wall, to see if this potential layout would work for a wheelchair-size quilt. 
Only two more hst's needed to complete this layout!

These are all from scraps donated a year or so ago, from which we've made several quilts so far, and the pile seems never-ending.  We received them as 6-1/2 inch (more or less) squares all pinned together but mostly not sewn, into nine large quilts!!  After unpinning and working with the fairly wonky squares for a few of our first donation quilts, we decided to trim the remainder into uniform squares, either 6-1/2 or 5-1/2 inch, depending on their original size.  I'm thinking this layout with the addition of two more blocks will make approximately a 45x45 inch quilt, just about perfect for the nursing home request.  There are several more that can be made from the remainder of the squares, perhaps next year.

Snow in the forecast for tonight, as well as this weekend. So, between painting the kitchen ceiling and walls and working on yet another quilt destined to be a Christmas gift, I won't mind a bit being inside out of the cold!  And hopefully, I'll have both the top and back flimsies completed to show you in the next couple days.  Yes, this quilt will have a pieced back too.  Crazy I know, at this time of year, but you work with what you have for the situation at hand!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

November Finishes!

Wowzers, three finishes in less than two weeks?  Unheard of around here, until now that is.

I stayed up late Monday evening sewing the binding onto these two quilts.  You've seen the in-progress tops before, but here they are, all quilted, bound, washed and fluffed. These two are both destined for our local nursing home as part of our quilt ministry.  So, drumroll ...

First up, the Bow-tie Quilt, made up of vintage scraps from the quilt ministry's stash:

Machine quilted simply, ditch stitching all vertical and horizontal seams, that's all it seemed to need.
A closer look

And the fun vintage men's shirt quilt pieced over the summer, again with pieces from our ministry stash:

This too was machine quilted, ditching ESS (every-stinking-seam), then a serpentine stitch diagonally through all the triangles, the quilting may show up a bit better in this shot.

In some ways, my favorite part of this quilt is the back, an older piece of very soft batik, that was gifted to me when I retired from a co-worker who was downsizing her stash in preparation for moving to a much smaller home. I've wondered for years what I was going to do with this batik, given the design, which actually appears in reverse at the opposite end of the piece. I had to piece the side borders to give it the needed width, but still have a good size chunk of the fabric left.
I wondered if there is any special significance to the design/emblem? If anyone knows, please let me know!  

While I hated to cut up the piece, it makes for a wonderfully soft and cozy backing for this quilt! Here's a slightly closer view that may show the quilting a bit more. 

I wish I could say that I'm on a roll and there will be more November finishes, though in all likelihood if there are any they will just be those hexie table-toppers that are sitting patiently, all layered and pinned and awaiting their turn under the needle. But that's OK, I'm pleased to have these two finished and on their way to their new home. These are number 7 and 8 on the Opportunity Quilts side of my 17 in 2017 scoresheet. Don't ask how the other side is coming along ...

A bone-chilling 17 degrees here this morning, and the ground was pure white with heavy frost. A sign of things to come, I'm sure.

Monday, October 30, 2017

October Finishes - Yay, there are Some!

So happy to report that the Quilt for Which I (still) Have No Name is finished!  All bound, washed, and photographed for posterity, since it will soon become a Christmas gift for my son and DIL.  I'm quite sure they are not even aware of my blog much less read it, so I can show a few photos of this latest finish now.  My husband really likes this one and not-so-secretly is hoping they won't like it so he can keep it. I can guarantee that won't be happening, but the batik tote remains nearly full, so he can hope another one rolls off the finish line - someday.

While it was still having the binding stitched to the back, we had what appeared to be our last nice, warm and nearly sunny day for the fall, so the quilt was scooped up for an early morning outside session just as the sun began rising over the hilltop behind the house.

That proved to be a good decision since now that the quilt is completely bound and washed, our weather has turned absolutely awful, with over 3 inches of rain in the past 24 hours and several more inches expected, plus high winds, and the possibility of snow tomorrow here in the higher elevations of western New York.
Some photos taken inside after washing and drying:

After ditch quilting all the blocks, I quilted an all-over meandering leaf design except on the borders.  I do like the overall texture this design imparts without the quilt looking overly-quilted and becoming stiff.  I used my Janome 7700 for all the quilting, and Aurifil 50 wt. thread was used throughout. The batting is Hobbs 80/20 cotton/poly blend - my favorite for bed quilts.

I made a first attempt at Lori Kennedy's feathered leaf fmq design after watching her demonstrate it on a recent episode of Sewing with Nancy.  It looked like it would be fairly easy to do, and it was, once I had drawn lines to mark off the beginning and end of each unit. Although Lori's feathered leaves look way more relaxed and natural than mine!  Oh well, maybe the next attempt will be better?!

One last look at the completed quilt, laid out on the guest bed to finish drying.  The top measured 91 inches square before quilting.  The batting was pre-rinsed and dried on low heat in an effort to minimize shrinkage in the final quilt.  After quilting and washing, the quilt now measures about 88 inches square.

One more small finish for last week - the first of the hexie table toppers, very simply machine quilted with straight lines and bound, and already gifted over the weekend.

The second-youngest grandson recently turned 4 years old and I have yet to make him his big-boy bed quilt.  Pondering whether I can pull that off before Christmas.  Time will tell!  Happy Monday, and I hope the weather is better in your neck of the woods.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Hexies and Bow-ties

How many times we've heard the breezy statement "just enjoy the process" when it comes to creating a quilt.  Words that are generally muttered repeatedly while in the midst of a never-ending project involving thousands of tiny multi-cornered pieces requiring set-in seams, or attempting tiny hand quilting through the multiple layers of those same tiny pieces with multiple seam joins. Now, and this is just my opinion, if we are totally honest with ourselves and each other, we'll just come out and say that sometimes the "process" is just plain T.E.D.I.O.U.S, and the mantra that might better serve is "better finished than perfect"!

Having three projects of queen and king size either in hoops or under the machine for quilting, plus another ginormous king-size bundle leering at me from the corner where I shoved it months ago, had me wanting, no, needing a small, do-able, FUN project, and quick!

I'll admit it, I've never been a fan of hexies, don't want to own a hexie quilt,  and I sure don't want to make one!  But then along came Marie of QuiltBee with these table toppers she is making for a holiday sale, and I just couldn't resist trying "just one."  After all, these hexies are huge, and woo-hoo, no inset seams! 

So, I made one
First one now quilted and ready for stitching down binding

and then another

and before you know it, the pile grew like Topsy!

And I haven't even gotten to the autumn-themed fabric or Christmas holiday bins which was what I originally intended when beginning this new project!  These toppers were made from a pile of scraps and some fat quarters and left-over-from-other projects that were easily accessible.

Then, last week I gave our quilt ministry group a demonstration of how to cut the hexies, and the piecing process.  And got several of them hooked ...  One of whom is 90 years young, and is hand quilting a king-size top she had pieced over 20 years ago in her previous quilting life.  Yes, she was getting tired of dragging that thing to our weekly meetings, and this new project is perfect for her too!

I hope to get that first binding hand stitched down later today, for gift-giving this weekend when we visit an older couple who we haven't seen in nearly a year.  Then, the others I'll work on more slowly,  attempt some more elaborate quilting on a few of them, and plan most of them for Christmas gifts.  A big thanks to Marie for her help getting started down this new avenue!

In other quilt ministry news, I finished up eleven more bow-tie blocks this morning, enough to complete a lap size nursing home quilt.  Here's a mock-up of how those blocks may end up in the finished top.
Made from donated scrap fabrics of unknown vintage, bright and cheerful, as I think they should be for a person who spends his/her days in a wheelchair.  Now I just need to find a cheerful backing fabric and get this "opportunity" quilt finished in the next couple weeks.

Heavy winds and rain last night, and some of the nearby hills are bare of leaves, though neighboring hillsides are aglow in the golds and russets of the oak forests whose fall glory just emerged in the last few days.  My favorite season of the year, and all too short it seems.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Mug Rug Swap

Good Monday Morning!  Randy at Barrister's Block recently hosted a mug rug swap.  This is the first time I've participated in an online swap, and it turned out to be great fun, albeit with a bit of nervousness on my part. There's a first time for everything, right?

Anyway,  last week I received a little packet from Lori L. (no blog) that contained not one, but two sweet little mug rugs, and here they are!

Aren't they cute?!  I really love the details in each one.  The teacup now resides on my computer desk where my morning coffee sits while I catch up on blogs, the grandkids' antics, etc.

And this one is just fascinating, with great attention to detail and I especially love the way Lori quilted the diagonal lines through each tiny block. That line of quilting adds so much dimension and movement to the whole quilt. This one is currently in the living room on a small table next to the rocking chair where I sit while chatting with my hubby about the days' events as we have our mid-afternoon snack or after supper treats. 
Did you spot the tiny farm critters?

Thank you so much Lori!

And here is the one I made for my swap partner, Debby D.  She also has no blog, but we've communicated back and forth about the swap and quilting in general.  I'm so happy she likes it!  

I've wanted to do a pineapple block for ages, and this seemed the right time to try one. I finished it with a little hand quilting, and machine quilting in the borders since I was running out of time to get it in the mail.  I'd love to make a set of placemats using this block or perhaps a table runner for my daughter as a little housewarming gift as they prepare to move into their first home.

Thanks to Randy for hosting this fun little swap!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Palmateer Point, the sequel but not the finish

Since I was less than enthralled with my choice of fabrics for the hst's in this project, it was left to simmer on the design wall for a week, to no avail.  I still don't care for those glaring hst rows!  But I'm not doing any more unstitching on this project, so I went off in search of some border possibilities. Here's what it looked like originally:
A block without borders

A good rummage through a couple bins of scraps resulted in several possibilities, ranging from "hmm" to "ridiculous" but never reaching "sublime."  A few of those possibles:

Yikes! What WAS she thinking?!

I sure wasn't feeling the love for any of these, and had decided to just slap a backing on the original block, get it quilted and done.  There was this sweet older print in one bin, and I figured it would make a lovely back and I could always flip it to the reverse side when I tired of looking at the pink.

The little quilt and the fabric had other ideas however, and here's where we ended up after they decided to dance together.

I love the way the mellow golden yellow softens the glaring pink/white combination of the hst's a bit, and certainly makes the top more lovable at least in my eyes. And that's where this project stands right now. The top is 38x38 inches, a good table-topper size. It will go into the closet for a bit while I try to finish some other huge lingering projects before I decide how to quilt it.