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.  

Friday, October 6, 2017

Palmateer Point Quilt-along, and week's happenings

It's been a really busy week around here, and I've loved every minute!  First of all, we had an overnight visit from Barbara and her husband Mike, all the way from Oregon.  We had a delightful time with them that was over all too soon, as they headed north and east with a coming weekend destination of the Maine coast, a place I'm eager to visit again.

And now we're in the midst of a five day visit from our youngest grandbaby, now nine months old, and his weary mom!  Weary because this little guy has just found his mobility, is pulling himself up to a stand on anything that presents itself as a possibility.  When he first arrived he carefully studied how the old Polish bentwood rocker moved back and forth at the slightest touch, then proceeded to pull himself to a standing position while it rocked!  And he can crawl across the room on his belly faster than you can blink an eye!  Suffice to say that any t.v. remote or anything resembling one is fair game as far as he's concerned!

So, what have I accomplished quilt-wise this week?  Not much, actually, though I did manage to pull my version of Lori's Palmateer Point quilt-along together.   This is Humble Quilt's annual fall quilt-along, which are always fun to participate in, especially getting to the third week and trying to figure out how Lori is going to arrange all the pieces we've been stitching into a coherent whole. 
I'm not especially enamored with my choice of fabrics for the half-square triangles in this version, and am playing around with a few border ideas to try reigning  in the white that seems to fly off the edges of the top right now.  We shall see what transpires from that.  I do love the overall look of this block and someday when I have a bit more time would like to experiment with setting additional quadrants into a barn-raising type of setting.  This could be very interesting.

It's also pretty neat seeing the block placed on-point.

Thanks Lori, for another fun quilt-along!  Check out her linky party here, to see all the other versions.

Monday, October 2, 2017

An Itty-bitty quilt show

On Saturday our little quilt ministry group hosted a quilt show at the church in conjunction with the town's annual harvest festival being held at the grange hall right across the road from our country church.  We showed some of our quilts and several other local ladies added their own quilts for a festive event!  I was delighted to find that we had enough quilts to cover all the rows of chairs in the sanctuary and even added a couple more rows of chairs along the outer walls to feature some large quilts.

Walking through the door, you were greeted with this view from the back of the room (sorry, some of these photos are less than crystal-clear).

Along the right-hand side of the room

There was a nice mix of antique, vintage and new quilts

both large

and small

small and smaller yet

Scrappy and controlled palettes

family heirlooms and yard sale finds

a riot of color everywhere you looked

A long and exhausting day, but so much fun as we talked with local people remembering their own grandmothers and aunts or neighbors who had made quilts and reminisced about them.  And the children, both boys and girls, especially those in the 8-12 year range who really seemed interested in learning to make a quilt of their own!  We also met several additional quilters from the area interested in showing some of their own work in next year's show.  All in all, a very fun event!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Bloggers Quilt Festival 2017

Amy at Amy's Creative Side is again hosting her Bloggers Quilt Festival.  I've met so many wonderful bloggers through this festival in past years that it just seems right to enter one more time. So here goes ...

This quilt was conceived during our trip back to Oregon in fall 2015, having moved back to our home state of New York in 2014 when DH retired.  We traveled to many of our favorite haunts, and I began picking up odd fat quarters and even up to a yard of Oregon/beach/mountain/greenery/ocean themed fabric at each of the quilt shops we visited between Port Orford along the southern coast all the way up to Astoria along the mighty Columbia River, where we found the theme fabric for this quilt, depicting turn-of-the-20th century salmon canning labels.  So fitting since my husband worked at the OSU Seafood Lab in Astoria while a student at Clatsop Community College many years ago.   The colors of the canning labels are so rich and vibrant, my rather pathetic photo editing skills do not do them justice at all. The quilt is aptly named Memories of Astoria, for my husband who lived, went to college and worked there right after graduating high school.   Without further ado, a few photos:

Begun fall-winter 2015, completed late 2016, hand quilted

I hand quilted this quite simply, about 1/8" from the ditch along nearly every seam, then outlined various features within each block.  My husband wanted cotton batting, the Hobbs 80/20 makes the quilt relatively flat and I'm happy with that look for this quilt since we wanted the fabric features to be the focal point, not the quilting.  Finished size is 56x65 inches, just about perfect for an afternoon nap on the couch.  A few close-ups:

I hope you'll take the time to visit the many other bloggers who share their work during this annual Festival, and perhaps make some new quilting friends too.  Just follow this link to see all the other entries.  Enjoy the show!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Finished Top (for which I have no name)

In my post a couple weeks ago I was pondering whether to add the appliqued leaves similar to what the inspiration quilt showed. Well, the top is now complete and the only leaves you'll see are the ones that float in and out of the printed block fabrics and the border. With the greatly expanded color palette it didn't seem to need the leaf overlay. This one is big, the completed top measuring 91x91 inches. When I first laid out the blocks it looked like this (after sewing horizontal rows of blocks randomly together).
OK, but too heavy on the dark blocks in the upper left

and the next day, after rearranging and/or reversing five of the rows, the final layout looked more like this.
A little better overall distribution of lights and darks without it looking totally calculated light-dark alternating, I think.

Then, I had this batik that I absolutely love, and had hoped from the get-go to use for the outer border.  And of course, the quilt was telling me it really wanted to have that dark blue narrow stop border too!  
Hmm, maybe too much of a good thing?  Drat, I Love this fabric!

In the end though, it seemed as though this would be the better combo, with my favored print ending up playing a minor but essential role as the binding.

So, after an awful lot of hemming and hawing, this is the the final quilt top, in all its wrinkled, crinkled glory.  It looks more rectangular in the photos since I wasn't able to get the camera high enough for a center shot, especially with our low ceilings.  It really is square!

I hope to find time to take it to the fellowship hall later in the week for layering and pinning, and get a start on machine quilting it by weekend. If all goes well and schedules don't get too disrupted that is.  The batiks in the top span the seasons, here are just a couple of my favorite blocks.

The batik tote was crammed full when I began stitching blocks, after finishing this 91x91 inch top it is still nearly full.  How does this happen??!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Bowties and Home Life

Awhile back Marie at Quilt Bee shared the beginning of a bowtie quilt she is making after being inspired by Maryse at Maryse Makes Things; and I've had a hankering to make a new old-fashioned bowtie quilt ever since.  So a couple weeks ago at our quilt ministry group I started sorting and cutting through bins of scraps, and began piecing a small top for what will be my 7th 'opportunity quilt' for the year. Well, it's starting out small, but may end up growing like Topsy, one never knows with these things!  Here are the first few blocks completed so far thrown up on the design wall.
Many, many more to go, but these are such fun, and I love this particular setting for  the bowties. This quilt won't have quite the extensive variety of fabrics as Maryse and Marie's inspiration quilts as there are not a lot of green scraps in our stash, but I think it will still be lots of fun to put together.

Several years ago at an outdoor estate sale I found one of those plastic zippered bags, the type sheet sets are packed in, on the ground under one of the sale tables.The attached label said something like "partially completed quilt - FREE - Enjoy!" All I could see without unpacking it was a muslin backing, hand quilting, and of course the "free"  label sealed the deal!  When I got it home and opened it up, inside was a hand-pieced bowtie quilt, of vintage fabrics, and the traditional style bowtie piecing with center square rather than the two little corner triangles added to the light squares. It was about 1/3 quilted when I made off with acquired it.

I attempted to replicate the size/style of hand quilting stitches and eventually finished it off, and we have enjoyed this throw-size treasure ever since.
So many interesting vintage prints!

If I remain infatuated with bowtie blocks for any length of time I'd like to make several smallish quilts trying out various settings for the blocks.  Another way to use up a lot of smaller scraps.

On the home front, we've been busy harvesting blueberries and green beans, and some banana peppers which I pickled for the first time ever.   I put up sixteen jars of rhubarb-blueberry jam so far, and will probably do one more batch if the rhubarb stalks don't wilt away before I can get to them.
R&B Jam

Living in a rural area we see our share of wildlife, and this big mama apparently has decided that our hay field, lawns and gardens are the perfect place to raise her brood of eight wildlings.  She has ventured closer and closer to the house and barns, and the other day shortly after we removed the blueberry netting they were all feasting on blueberries on the ground and what they could glean by jumping up to attack the lower branches. Great fun watching them! We will probably post our land this fall so they have a safe haven during hunting season, provided they are still hanging around by then. Here they are right next to the driveway, probably not more than 20 feet from the window where I took this photo.

And last but certainly not least, I made a big bowl of bowtie pasta salad this week using fresh basil and the first of the Sungold cherry tomatoes.  One of our favorite summer salads, but we devoured 98% of it before I even thought to take a photo.

We live in troubled times when everything good seems turned upside down and inside out.  This week, lets smile a little more often at those we meet in the store or on the street, bless someone in need with a small gift, a home cooked meal, or even just a listening ear and a friendly hug.  Let your light shine brightly!  The forces of evil cannot prevail where love abides.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A New Start

A couple months back while visiting our son and DIL, they showed us their remodeled (after the windstorm damage) bedroom. Being a nosy mom, I noticed that their wedding quilt was beginning to look more than a bit shabby and faded, having been on their bed for over 16 years. So, figuring a newly redone room deserves a new quilt, this is what I've started for their Christmas gift. A late arrival on my 17 in 2017 list but one I'd like to have completed in time for gifting this year.

28 of the 64 blocks needed for the center portion

These blocks will finish at 10 inches, so I'm planning 64 blocks for the central part plus borders should make this a good queen size.  I'm now up to 38 blocks sewn.  

A closer look

My inspiration was this throw quilt featured in Quiltmania's January/February 2012 issue.

My batiks have a much wider color range than the featured quilt, since this is intended as a "stash 'n scrap" quilt.  I'm hoping to not need to purchase more than a couple green fat quarters and pare down the stash a little with this project. The featured quilt has deliberately wonky squares that I chose not to attempt to replicate, but judging from the first photo above, I seem to have achieved a bit of that anyway by including a couple different sized center squares and narrowing some of the outer borders. 

While I'm kind of liking it now, seeing the photos convinced me that there should be a lot more light fabrics in the remaining blocks, especially if I add the appliqued deep green leaves. Which is another fussbudget dilemma, will trying to add appliques over the more colorful blocks be too much of a good (or bad) thing?  I'm still trying to find two or three deep green batiks that will play nicely with the rest of the fabrics.   Maybe it'll all work out with a lot more lighter hued blocks in the mix.  What do you creative quilters think?