Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Mindless Piecing Makes a Flimsy

So a week ago I awoke with excruciating lower back and leg pain, but it was quilt group day, so of course you know what I did, lol!   A visit to the chiropractor the next day revealed a twisted tailbone and impingement of the sciatic nerve.  And how did that happen?  No clue, but four visits later it seems to be improving slowly.  Either that or I'm just adapting to the pain, with the help of some over the counter anti-inflammatories and some mild pain meds.

Anyhow, during this hiaitus, about the only chair comfortable enough to sit on was a dining room chair, so I parked the faithful little featherweight on the table and began piecing nine-patch blocks.  These fabrics were donated to our quilt ministry a year or so ago from an anonymous friend, and have patiently awaited their destiny.  There was a fat quarter bundle of lovely deep shades of shot cotton and small yardages of Kaffe Fassett prints.    I'd never tried a disappearing nine-patch before, in fact had only ever seen one recently, so it seemed easy enough and not too complicated that the back pain would interfere with assembling the top in a coherent manner.  Hmm, have 'disappearing nine-patch' and 'coherent' ever been used in the same sentence before?  Hehe! After determining I could wrangle enough pieces for 20 blocks of the featured floral if I made the pieces 5" square, I set about cutting up the fabric, and this is the result.

Pretty wild, huh? You'll have to take my word for it, the colors are FAR lovelier than depicted in my poor photo attempts.  Especially the shot cottons, which are just beautiful in their own right.  The following close-ups provide a little better color rendition, though not perfect by far.

So, this top measures 67 x 80 inches, and is slated to join a group of quilts our group will be donating for the church camp's annual benefit auction over Labor Day weekend.  My sweet hubby who favors deep greens and browns and is generally not a fan of wild color combos thinks this top is pretty cool, so if auction-goers don't get super-excited, it may end up coming home to live with us, who knows? I'll be piecing the back next week, using some of the left-over yardage and another 'coordinating' print - coordinating with the dark shot cottons at least!

I also began another mindless piecing project over the past few days, and will post when there's more to show.  Right now it consists of a few hundred semi-pieced 4-patch blocks, with alternate blocks yet to be cut and assembled.  Fun bright fabrics, with a plain white background, another auction donation quilt in the making.  More later.

I'm happy to say after four adjustments by our chiropractor, including one this morning, things are beginning to look up, and hopefully if I don't move or twist incorrectly the back will be back to some semblance of normal before too many more days.   The interesting thing is, since my back went out, the wrist doesn't hurt a bit!  Guess I'd best get back to some FMQ while that lasts!

Aww Mom, put it on the floor, will ya?

Monday, April 2, 2018

Playing with Scraps

One of our quilt ministry members donated some fabrics recently, and included in the box were these cut-offs and remnants from one of her recent quilts.

To give you some idea of the size of the scrap pieces, the little squares and strips measure 1" finished, the larger black print square at the front about 6-1/2 inches.  On a whim I decided to take this batch home last week and see what they might become.  During spare moments over the weekend and today, my handy seam ripper and sewing machine reconfigured some of the scraps into 9-patch blocks that eventually became this little doll quilt top.

More than a little wonky since I didn't bother to square up anything as I went along.  In the beginning I'd planned to just use Lois's scraps for the top, but eventually decided there just wasn't enough of anything to make a good background for the 9-patches, and this off-red was handy in the stash.  The narrow stop border is made up of three different black prints, and each side has several pieces seamed together to achieve the needed length.  The top measures 20-3/4 by 25 inches, and the 9-patch blocks finish at 3 inches square - more or less ;-)

I hardly made a dent in all the little scrappy pieces, so tomorrow the remainder are traveling back to quilt group and I'll put out a challenge to the gang, to see how many doll quilts we can make from the remainder, with the caveat that each person only choose one extra fabric to be used in addition to the scraps while making her top.  I'd love to see this become a round-robin of sorts, though  I wonder how many will take me up on the challenge! 

Meanwhile, my hand quilting buddy in the evening.  Sleepy eyes ...

Friday, March 30, 2018

A small March finish

I finished another quick nursing home lap quilt yesterday, using nearly all of the remaining pieces in the pile of yard sale 6-1/2 inch squares that were the core of our quilt ministry's efforts when we began a little over two years ago.  I can't tell you how tired we all are of those squares!  Yet, they have yielded over a dozen quilts that have been donated to a number of causes, nothing wasted.

So, here's the latest, and last finish from that seemingly never-ending pile.
Very simply quilted in the ditch, and I used some polydown batting, so the result is almost comforter-like in its puffy softness. 

The back is a piece of 1990s(?) calico from my stash, along with a leftover piece of the backing fabric from my son and DIL's Christmas quilt.  Binding is another remnant from my aging stash.

My favorite fabric in the entire quilt is this one HST of soft gray-green and cherry blossoms.  I wish there had been more of that fabric, so subtle and lovely.

With this one finished, I can now concentrate on getting some of the huge tops hanging around here quilted and bound, and into the Done category.

We got another coating of heavy wet snow early this morning with more possible on Easter and early next week.  It's looking like spring will be very late this year, or perhaps skip us entirely.  It is good quilting weather though, and I can definitely live with that!

Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Another completed flimsy, needing a name!

It's beginning to look like a flimsy a month here, but that's about to come to a screeching halt and I need to press the Janome into action to get a few of these things quilted and into the Done category!  That will happen soon, hopefully tomorrow as the plan is to begin ditch quilting the fall oak leaf top I posted about here

The past three weeks or so I've been busy with taxes, a wedding, a grandbaby visit(!), and other pressing issues, but finally had a chance Saturday evening to complete this top.
Such a fun top to make with the scrappy assortment of dozens of fabrics. There may be as many as 100 or more, I didn't (and won't) count them all. And though the photo appears to show the exact same fabric in adjacent blocks in a number of places, I am quite certain they are not! The entire top was laid out on the floor of the church foyer a couple weeks ago during our quilt ministry meeting, then each diagonal row was carefully gathered up and numbered for stitching together at home. It measures 85x94 inches at the moment.  And it needs a name -- suggestions appreciated!

The temperature finally reached the 40s this afternoon and there are little patches of grass here and there, mostly where my husband used the snowblower to carve out paths for doggy walks and to reach all the bird feeders.  I can say we are all royally tired of dealing with the heavy white stuff and the underlying ice.  All except for our insane pup who insists on jumping into the creek every chance he gets, no matter how cold it is and how swift the creek is running.   
Just prior to the last big snowstorm

We'll certainly know where to find him all summer!

Monday, February 19, 2018

A Completed Flimsy, at Last!

It seems like forever that I've been toiling over this quilt top, but at last, ta-da!
Now, what are the odds that the very day you need to lay the quilt with the black background out on the floor a bajillion times in order to measure each of the five borders, that the long-haired Aussie puppy would begin to blow his winter coat?  Apparently, in this house, about 100 percent!  Despite several sessions vacuuming floors and carpet, by the time every last border was stitched the quilt top  was covered with long downy white dog hair.  An hour or so this morning with the lint roller and scissors trimming the little threads away from seams, and it was finally presentable for a photo.

That 4th border with the parallelograms gave me a bit of a hassle, but if one steps back and ignores the somewhat haphazard points it doesn't look too bad.  Like they say, if you can't see it from the back of a galloping steed at 20 yards ...  I do love that mantra!   The finished top measures about 91 inches square, though it doesn't appear square in the photos, given that our ceilings are low and it's difficult to get a good angle for a straight-on shot.

A bit closer view

We seem to have broken the back of winter around here, and though it's dark and gloomy today, tomorrow's forecast is for partially clearing skies and temperatures near 70 in the afternoon - I for one can live with that!  We are seeing the maple sap buckets and lines out now, and hopefully the temperatures won't remain so warm that the trees bud out too early, and ruin the sap run.  We still need to have nighttime temps below freezing for awhile longer for a successful season.

The aforesaid puppy is now nine months old, and though we had hoped he would know better by now, he seems to have it in his head that anything and everything is his for the chewing. We still can't let him out of our sight in the house, sad to say.  Last week he managed to chew the plug off my iron, which thankfully was not connected to an outlet at the time. The quilts have gone into hiding, behind closed doors or tucked away in blanket chests since one was found yesterday with a hole chewed into the muslin back and batting but thankfully missing the front patch and hand quilting. Mendable, but still ...

The hand/wrist issues I've been having all fall and winter turned out not to be so much carpal tunnel related, but rather significant arthritis and bone spurs.  So, it looks like the pace will need to be slowed to try to stay ahead of it and not invite more painful flareups.  Thankfully I can still hand quilt for short stints and hand applique doesn't seem to aggravate the wrist. Rotary cutting and machine stitching are more problematic, and I really need to pace myself much more.

Still plugging away on hand quilting my Quilty 365 and the basket quilt in spare moments, with hopes of having both completed sometime this year. Pictures when there is more significant progress to show.

One more close-up of the newest flimsy

Happy stitching friends!