Thursday, February 14, 2019

February's Mini Quilt

Just in time for Valentine's Day, this little mostly red quilt is a finish.  It is the first in my little series Pieced From Lois's Scraps.  Last year one of our ministry members began bringing in baggies of leftover scraps from a few of her fabulous traditional quilts.  I challenged the group to take the baggie home, choose one additional fabric and create a small quilt top, then return the leftover fabrics for someone else to take and on and on.  Well, as of now, only one other member of the group has taken on the challenge.  This was the pile of scraps when we began:

My friend Nancy created this little top.  I don't know if she has quilted it yet.

And this is the quilt I made.  A lot of red, but I've always loved red, my favorite color as a child.

With several other quilts in the hand quilting queue, I resorted to machine quilting this one.  I had pressed open all those little nine-patch seams which ruled out ditch quilting, so the best option seemed to be vertical/horizontal cross-hatching through all those blocks.  A couple walking foot stitch options in the borders and I called this one done.

I used one of my favorite feed sacks for the back.  There were only a few in my collection and last year I decided to get them out and begin using them.  I love them for small quilt backs.

Three years ago we rooted a new plant from a supermarket pineapple and it has finally decided to grace us with a flower to brighten this bleak midwinter week.  It's still in bud, but looks promising!

Friends who live off the grid on a nearby mountaintop have grown these successfully in their sunroom for years, even harvesting small pineapples occasionally.  Hope we'll be that lucky in a few weeks/months.

Happy Valentines Day!

Linking up with Wendy's Peacock Party.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Turning the Corner

It seems I've been hand quilting this one for years, and I guess I have.  But night-before-last I finally finished the last of the center strips, and could finally move on to marking and beginning the quilting of the outer borders of my basket quilt.  After removing the hoop I immediately threw it on the guest bed for a quick pic.

This was a quilt featured in an older Fons and Porter book Fat Quarter Friendly, and their version was called French Country Strippy. 

The batting I used for this one is Hobbs 80/20 and so the quilting generally isn't well defined, but in the late afternoon light as I was marking the outer borders I was able to capture all the torturous outline quilting of the inner floral strips that seemed to take forever and a day.

and a bit closer

The outermost borders are now marked with a linear stencil.  Not doing that outline around the flowers thing again.  I'd like to see this one finished sometime in this decade!

I'd hoped to finish the remaining rows on the Christmas top over the weekend, but the birth of grandbaby number nine and an 80th birthday party for my sister-in-law on Sunday put the kabosh on that idea.  Grandbaby though he arrived early and tiny, is already home and doing great.  His big brothers are smitten, not to mention the new dad and mom, and grandparents!

Though I'd love to share a photo of the little guy, I've made the decision to not post any more family photos on my blog due to the number of phony Bloglovin 'followers' that keep cropping up in my stats, all of which are associated with far less than desirable websites.  If I knew how to completely close my Bloglovin account without having to close out this blog, I'd do so, but in the meantime I'm trying to be extremely careful about my post titles and will keep comment moderation active in the hopes of not having any unsavory things appear in the comment section.   That's all I know to do, as I'm old-school and not terribly computer savvy.

After several days of sunny, almost balmy 50-60 degree weather our snow is almost gone, the creek is treacherous with all the ice break-up and thaw, and tonight the temperatures are dropping back to the freezing mark.  And winter begins again.  More quilting time before the rakes and rototillers come out again!

Friday, February 1, 2019

One Monthly Goal for February

It's time once again to link up with Patty at Elm Street Quilts for the One Monthly Goal for February.

In January, between other projects, I began piecing a throw size Christmas quilt for our home, in the now apparently vain hope that my stash of Christmas fabrics would finally be depleted.  Well, that hasn't happened, but the top has occupied the design wall for a month, and needs to come off so I can work on a quilt ministry project.  A little over half the top has now been pieced.  Here's the latest photo of progress, this is the top half of the quilt.

Finishing piecing this top is my OMG for February, and if the scrappy flannel backing is also pieced it will be a huge bonus.  My plan is to machine quilt this next fall after the benefit auction takes place in September.

Oh yes, that's my Quilty 365 languishing in the hoop stand in the background.  You'll be seeing this one again as a One Monthly Goal (probably for several months) after handquilting of my basket quilt is completed.

Linking to the Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal February Link-up.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Strings, Strings, Beautiful Strings

Lori at Humble Quilts is hosting a 2019 Stringalong, and posted her first month linky party today.  As is often the case, I dithered thought a lot about what kind of string quilt to start off the year, and procrastinated until the day the linky party was posted to get started.  But, start I did this afternoon.

I found a great little tutorial for a spiderweb block on Marit's blog Quilt-It, and decided to make a small quilt using this tutorial.  At the moment the plan is to make 4 blocks and then add a couple borders of piano keys - we'll see where we end up in a few months.  There may just be enough blue strings and scraps for a full size quilt.

Cutting and marking the base triangles.  This one is ready for stitching.

Strings sewn on.

The back after sewing the strings.  Note the white base fabric is only attached at the seam attaching the first string on each side.  It is folded back out of the way for each subsequent string, and only serves as a measuring aid for the added strings and a guide for trimming the final shape.

After trimming the excess.  After trimming the triangle shape, the excess base fabric is also cut away.

The pros to this method: no papers to rip away after the blocks are stitched.  This is a big one in my book!  The cons:  You are left with these odd-shaped triangles to add to the scrap bins.

Hopefully by the next linky party there will be some completed blocks to show you.  Linking up with Lori's Stringalong 2019, where you'll even see some finished string quilts in the mix!

Hearts and Flowers is a Finish

This is a finish that makes my heart sing, and it is already on its way or perhaps even delivered to the elderly nursing home resident for whom it was requested.

"Hearts and Flowers"
42 x 46 inches

This little wheelchair quilt project, completed in just over a week, was tremendous fun from beginning to end!  And so out of my usual mode of following a pattern of many pieced blocks, using primarily earthy autumn shades, etc.  Simple piecing to be sure, but there's just something about the final combination of semi-vintage fabrics and joyful colors that really uplifted my spirit this month.  What follows are a sampling of close-up photos of the fabrics and the simple quilting, mostly so I can remember this little quilt in the future.

Several of Lori Kennedy's motifs were used in the quilting, as well as free-form FMQ flowers and leaves, and ditch quilting with the walking foot.

The back, the brown fabric is probably polyester, but oh-so soft to the touch

I'm hoping to gather up some similar fabrics and make a throw quilt for myself soon.  I need some bright and cheerful colors around me during this bleak mid-winter.  The Polar Vortex is upon us today, the schools are all closed, probably for the rest of the week, but the dog still insists on going out to play... we're letting him out for five minutes at a time, he loves the snow.

Taken during a rare afternoon sunbreak

Linking up with Wendy's Peacock Party here.

Happy Quilting and keep warm!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

A Mini for January

Back just before Christmas Lori (Humble Quilts) shared this cute little quilt she called Swiss Cross-Merry Christmas!  I've seen several versions since then created by other bloggers posted to Lori's Facebook group and thought why not?

Then I had the probably not-so-bright idea of reversing the light-dark color scheme and using several of my darker color solids for the crosses.  Every once in a while I like to create a little challenge for this aging brain, forcing it into thinking outside the box with only a couple hand-written references.  Anyhow, this is how that little experiment ended up.

What do do about quilting this.  Another decision, and I chose one of my favorite Aurifil variegated threads that has all the colors represented in the quilt.  Good decision maybe, except I tried using it for ditching all those seams - not so good.  Then in an effort to highlight the thread I quilted the large triangles from the intersection of each of those outer squares to the outer corner of the triangle.  That part at least highlights the colors properly, though sadly I was never able to capture the color nuances of that pretty thread with the camera.

My husband saw the quilt sitting on the cutting table and remarked "looks like a hot air balloon" and I suppose it does.  When we lived in Oregon there was a yearly hot air balloon festival in a nearby town during summer, and we often saw them rising above the valley in the early morning hours during our workday commutes.

For the back I used this vintage-looking print that has been in my stash for quite awhile.  I actually won't mind using the quilt this side up!

After washing, the front looked a little puffier and the ditch quilting receded a bit - a good thing I think.

This is my first month joining Wendy's (The Constant Quilter) monthly mini-quilt challenge.  It promises to be a lot of fun, if I can keep up!

Friday, January 25, 2019

January OMG and a Bonus Finish

So happy to be able to say I've completed my January OMG plus a little bonus quilt!  First, the OMG project, a baby quilt for grandchild number 9, expected in February.

Simply machine quilted with walking foot and Jester's Hat FMQ motif

A lovely soft vintage gauzy Batik over plaid backing

And a little bonus quilt for the new baby, what I'm calling a 3-in-1 quilt.  Mom can use it for a travel changing mat, or a wall hanging, or let the little guy have it for a comfort "lovey."  Kindly ignore that renegade thread that I never noticed until after editing the photos ... sigh.

I absolutely adore this sweet little fox face!

The back

We ended up missing the baby shower last weekend, since we were in the midst of a major winter blast of snow and it was a 200 mile round trip drive.  We awoke the next morning to 12 inches of snow, dropping temperatures and biting winds.  For the next couple days it was minus 18 or 19 each morning and then along came a mid-week thaw accompanied first by sunshine and then heavy rains.
Yesterday, we awoke to this in our far back yard, a result of snow, ice, heavy rain and raging creek.

Some of these ice slabs are 12 inches thick

Someone is miffed because the creek is too treacherous to cross!

I'll be linking up with Patty's Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Finish for January and also joining Wendy's Peacock Party for the first time this week.

Happy weekend quilting, and thanks for visiting!  Til next time ..

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Squirrel Invasion

With all the cold weather and the seed and suet feeders full we've had a small invasion of little red squirrels, one or two grays, and of course the chippies.  I seem to be building squirrels in the sewing room too ...

I've always tried to avoid making those flippy corners demanded by so many quilt patterns. Seems no matter whether I tried drawing lines or just winging it corner to corner I always ended up with too many cut-off points and other crooked atrocities.  But after reading Bonnie Hunter's blog for a few months and how she consistently recommended the Simple Folded Corners ruler, I caved and put it on my Christmas wish list.  And thus began the current mess in my sewing room I'll loosely call squirrel-building!  Here's a photo of that magic ruler in case anyone (besides me) hasn't seen or tried one before this.  The white tape is surgical tape placed on the back to keep the ruler from slipping, the green painters tape to keep me from losing my place cutting hundreds of corners over the past couple of weeks!
No affiliation with the creator of this ruler, just a happy user!

The first project I started in an apparently vain attempt to clear the Christmas fabrics tote.  Not a chance, but here's what the design wall looked like a few days ago.  Kind of a mess, huh?

Being transformed into rows like this - the top row with borders attached.
Loving how all those star points are coming along

I've since finished and attached the second row, and began the third row before being sidetracked this week with a request for a nursing home quilt. 

The recipient in question is a 95-year-old woman with dementia, who in her younger years lived on a farm not far from here and had also been a quilter.  Her son asked me if I could make her a lap quilt, I think in the hope that seeing the fabrics would spark some memory of her former enjoyment of creating her own quilts for family and friends.   In the past couple weeks our quilt ministry has received some donated fabrics from an estate, included were a few fabrics suitable for quilting, all probably vintage 1980s and 1990s fabrics.  Some still retained their original sale tags, most were 5 yard pieces, purchased for $2.00 or less per yard!  I added a few more fabrics from my stash and decided to try flying geese with the new ruler.  Again, so happy that I wasn't losing the points!

And tonight this little top is complete.  I'll piece the back and hopefully get it layered and ready for quilting tomorrow.  The top currently measures 42-1/2 by 46-1/2 inches, a good wheelchair size.

We're expecting a major snowstorm and blizzard conditions beginning on Saturday, so I'm hoping to be able to quilt much of the weekend, if we have power.   Then decide what to do with all those bonus HST squares!  More squirrels!

Wishing you all a good weekend, hopefully out of the path of the storm.