Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Hold the Presses ...

I was wondering what to blog about considering how little actual quilting has been accomplished on the home front, but then this:

An incredible gift today, from a new friend at our quilt ministry - a huge group of about 35 hand embroidered, hand-crocheted vintage runners and tablecloths, made by my friend's now deceased mother's neighbor's mother.  Trusting you can follow that genealogy - just suffice it to say since my friend and I are both 70, these pieces are probably at least that old!  Most are in excellent condition, some probably never used, others with just a bit of staining that will probably soak out.

The best part is, these were all created by a Polish immigrant woman from the same general neighborhood my grandparents lived when they were first married.  While some are made from store-bought embroidery patterns, many of the pieces are hand-drawn folk-art authentic Polish embroideries in traditional colors.  With all hand-crocheted lace borders on nearly every piece. Love!!!!!   So, without further ado, here are some of these new treasures.

I think this next one, the largest tablecloth, may also be the oldest, it has certainly seen the most wear, but the gorgeous heavy 4-inch wide lace is still in perfect condition.

Feeling very blessed today!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Quilty Happiness is ...

Reaching the halfway point on any large project.  I'm now past the halfway (day 183) mark in my Quilty 365 journey!   And the little block commemorating that milestone:

Finishing the applique work on the five 15-inch blocks in the Autumn Leaves quilt.  I'm not terribly fond of machine applique but my needle-turn skills still aren't sufficient to have hand appliqued those tight curves on the oak leaves successfully.   Where was that new Crafted Applique book when I really needed it, about six months ago?!

Finding a message in your inbox saying you've actually won a lovely giveaway!  More on this when it arrives in a few days.

News of a new grandbaby on the way - our hearts overflow!

Linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for her weekly Friday Whoop-Whoop!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Westering Women and Favorite Fabrics

Do you have a favorite piece of fabric, one of those that caught your eye in the quilt shop and never let go, to the point where you've had said fabric for years and yet it's so beautiful you can't bear to cut into it and use it?   Well, this is one of those pieces in my stash.
Fabric color is more true in the next photo

I'm pretty sure this fabric dates back to the mid 1990s; it's from a Smithsonian Institution RJR line called Little Sister's Quilt.  Here is a link to online information about the original quilt which dates to the 1850s-1860s.  The time period of the original quilt corrresponds to the westward movement and so it seemed very appropriate to (finally) use a bit of this fabric in my Westering Women quilt.

The Lone Elm is the block chosen by Barbara Brackman for April.  This is my version.
I'm pretty happy with this block, despite the fact that a couple of the triangle points will undoubtedly disappear when the blocks are stitched to sashing fabrics and the tree trunk is a bit lopsided.  Kind of like it was stitched while jostling on the back of the wagon along the Oregon Trail.  

Now that I see this gorgeous fabric come to life in a quilt block, I'll undoubtedly be wishing there was more than a yard of it in my stash!  

Saturday, April 30, 2016

April Quilty Circles Roundup

My April circles are done, though there was a point this month that it seemed they would never be caught up.   This is Day 174 of my Quilty 365 journey, and by May 10 I'll be over half-way to the goal!  I don't know about others, but it seems to work best for me to cut a LOT of circles and background squares ahead of time, get them matched up, and then use that little pile to choose a daily circle to work on.  Even with the advance prep it's becoming easier and easier to get behind as other projects demand a bit of that scarce priority time.  And another priority (read deadline) project has recently sprung up, but more about that later ...

April Circles

I think I'll stay with the mostly tan and brown backgrounds with an occasional pop of light blue or violet in the mix.  The stash seems to favor browns this year, and this will be a good background for a bed quilt in our guest room.  The circles range from tiny 1980s and early 90s Cranston prints to modern geometrics and novelty prints - truly a scrap 'n stash raid!  An I-Spy quilt for the grandkids.

A few of my April favorites

Linking up now with Audrey at Quilty Folk.  Check out her linky to see what others are doing with their circles!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Busy Week

Since 'Thing Two' came to stay with us this week, life has been a bit more rambunctious, in keeping with his adolescent puppy personality.  However, after putting up beyond his reach  all the in-progress quilting, batting, etc. etc., I was able to work on one small project for our Quilt Ministry.

For our May meetings we'll be working on making Violet Blocks, and the pattern I'm using is courtesy of Jean-Sophie Wood at www.blocklotto.com.    This seemed to be an easy enough block that our relative beginners could make successfully and still be a bit challenging for the few who have some quilting experience.  I made up a few sample blocks yesterday from some donated fat quarters and some of my scrappy pieces.  These blocks will finish at 8 inches, although Sophie has thoughtfully provided a cutting chart for several alternate sizes in her instructions.
I just love the cheerful nature of these blocks and think they will make someone a lovely comfort quilt.

I made some partial blocks to use on a demonstration board so everyone could see the steps in the construction process.

Departing from Sophie's excellent instructions in one area, we will draw two diagonal lines 1/2 inch apart across the background squares, so the cut-off excess can be used for small triangle-square blocks - waste not, want not!

A few of the over 75 HST's from yesterday's sewing stitched together into a little sawtooth border strip.

Thanks to Sophie for providing all these wonderful patterns through your blog and your website!

Look for pieces of the leftover scraps in upcoming Quilty 365 circles!

We'll have our next ministry meeting a week from tomorrow, and it'll be fun to see what our quilters come up with.  We've also been blessed with several large boxes of fabric donations, and some unfinished vintage quilt tops that we have yet to go through.  Fun and work awaits us, and I can't wait to get into those boxes that arrived last Sunday.

Now, to get back to some of my languishing projects.  A wedding and a baby quilt loom on the immediate horizon.   If the incessant drizzle and cold weather continue I may even find time to get to them ... after 'Thing 2' returns home on Tuesday.

Linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict since there are indeed pieces of scrappy goodness in these blocks and their leftover pieces!

Friday, April 22, 2016

A Second Finish?

In one week?  A second finish?  Seriously, I don't think that has ever happened before!  My little version of Lori DeJarnatt's Country Roads quilt-along from last fall is finally quilted, bound and washed!  Now to find the perfect place in the house to display it.

Lori began her quilt-along last fall while we were traveling in Oregon and I picked up fat quarters for my project at my favorite quilt shop back there, Boersma's.  I haven't used a lot of cheddar in previous quilts but totally fell in love with this fabric, especially paired with the coordinating black and cheddar print.  Sadly I only bought a couple fat quarters of each one.  That cheddar color  has proved difficult to capture with the camera however, and when I try color editing to get the cheddar right, the reds/pinks are way off.  Any suggestions on how to better capture all the colors more accurately are appreciated!  Anyhow, a close-up:

This piece of toile has been in my stash for more years than I can remember, and was just the right size for a back since an entire repeat of the print fit perfectly within the 25 inch square size of the top.

This was a fun quilt-along and I'm happy it's finally finished.  Thanks Lori!  Still undecided whether to add a hanging sleeve or find the perfect spot to use as a table topper.  

Wishing you a wonderful weekend.  One of the grand-dogs will be vacationing at our house for the next week - he's barely reached adolescence, so things may get exciting around here.  Til next time ...