Wednesday, July 14, 2021

When You Think the Top is Finished ... But It Isn't

 Over the past couple year I've rummaged the stash and scrap bins, hunted down, scrounged, and was gifted some  fabric scraps of black on white, white on black, and as it turns out more than a few with added colors.  All to make a long envisioned black and white triangle quilt using my 60 degree triangle ruler.  

I started cutting the 8" triangles as a reward for working on the quilting of Ruby each afternoon, and by the time she was completed there were enough triangles cut to begin laying them out on the design wall.  My envisioned quilt was to be around 72 inches square, requiring 16 triangles for each horizontal row, and 10 vertical rows.  The design wall is 48 inches wide by about 80 inches high.  Which of course required designing and piecing in three long diagonal sections.   After I had everything stitched together I laid it out on the guest bed.

Oops. You can probably already see the problem, the quilt is wider than it is long.  Apparently in creating the sections I ended up making it 18 triangles wide.   In the scheme of things it ended up to be a fortunate mistake as there were plenty of extra triangles left and it was easy enough to add an extra row to the bottom of the quilt and call it good.  It now measures somewhere around 83x83 inches.  Still deciding whether I'll add a narrow border before machine quilting later this year. At this point the outer edges are stabilized by stitching 1/8 inch from the edges, many of which are on bias.  

I really enjoy working with these large triangles, easy piecing and a fun way to use scraps of  large scale focal, "whatever can I do with this" fabrics. 

 Matching the seams is easy if the seams are pressed open and the little triangle dog ears are left in place to match up. 

I think this quilt will go to one of the grandkids eventually, and there are enough leftover pieces to cut more triangles for a throw size donation quilt or two.

In the garden, the near constant rain over the past two weeks has ruined some of the crops, too late for replanting some of them, the ground is saturated, and the weeds are flourishing.  The blueberries are just beginning to ripen and we're hoping for a couple sunny weeks with much lower humidity so they don't mildew before they ripen completely.  Not too many flowers blooming right now but there are a few lilies

and a little purple poppy - thanks Barbara!

Til next time, happy stitching.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Mini Bird Trap

 For this month's mini I consulted this book for some inspiration  

and came up with this gem, circa 1930, named Bulls-Eye Square.

Shortly after I began piecing my version of the quilt in early June Barbara Brackman had a series of posts  Here and Here including both whole quilts called Housetops and block designs variously called Housetops, Pigpen, Hog pen, Chicken Coop and one variation known as Bird Trap.  It appears that both the inspiration quilt and mine may be a Bird Trap variation.

Last month our quilt ministry received a generous donation of fabric pieces from a faraway quilter who wished to remain anonymous.  Thinking this inspiration quilt might be a fun one to make in a larger size for donation, I decided to make a prototype mini using a couple of the donated fabric pieces and some other scraps from my stash.

There were directions in Eleanor Levie's book.  I didn't follow them. Just began cutting and piecing round and round.  For one thing I had no pink solid fabrics, and only a bit of blue solid so my version wouldn't be an accurate reproduction.  I only had very limited amounts of both the donated blue and pink fabrics for the central portion, and that gorgeous border print was also only a scant fat quarter.  Every strip was carefully cut to make the most of the limited amounts of those fabrics. The original inspiration quilt measured 44 inches square, my version is about 26x27 inches.  No problem, I love small table toppers!

For the back I chose this gray and purple vintage feed sack, one of the two remaining in my stash.

My version is ditch quilted around every seam, with freehand machine quilted feathers in the larger floral border.

This was much fun and a welcome diversion after dealing with Ruby for most of the month!

Be sure to check out Wendy's mini quilt roundup post on the last day of the month at The Constant Quilter.  There are some fabulous quilts featured every month!

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Ruby - a finished quilt

 Well, it's been awhile, I hope all is well with all of my blogging friends.  And that you've all found a way to beat the heat that has us all in its grip.  Since we can't do much outside after around 11 a.m., I've been quilting, trying to finish up my rebellious Ruby.  She'll be in the donation pile for this year's church camp auction over Labor Day weekend.

And, she's officially finished, as of around 8 p.m. yesterday!  Quilting her was a torturous adventure(?) to say the least.  But wonky stitches and all, done and dusted.

And for a reference point, here's what that lovely border fabric Really looks like below. It's one of those fabrics that tends to look washed out in most lighting.

There were times while quilting it that I thought about wadding it up and tossing it in the firepit and lighting a match to it.  Now that it's done I'm warming to it, crazy color combinations and all.  

Some of the quilted blocks:

I may like the "plain brown paper bag" back better than the front!

This morning around 6:30 right after the sun rose over the mountain the quilt, my dog and I ventured out to see what the morning light would do for the quilt.  Not great, but probably a bit better than interior shots. The colors are good in this one:

There was no time to dawdle as the gardens needed watering, then get ready for church service.  Now, after picking up a rotisserie chicken and potato salad on the way home, we're free to while away the rest of the day. And Ruby is enjoying her beauty bath and fluffing in the dryer for a bit.  

Time to quilt June's mini, and try to get all those triangles from the design wall stitched together before the grands take over the sewing room next weekend for their annual 4th of July romp in the country. 

Have a great week!

p.s.  by now you probably know that Blogger is messing things up again for email subscribers.  I don't have a clue how to fix my blog so please read some of the excellent tutorials by some more tech-savvy bloggers and choose a method that will work for you.  Sorry that I'm no help in that regard, sigh.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The Joy of Everyday Things

 A bit of a pictorial ramble through the yard and woodland by the creek, and occasionally a peek into the sewing room, in no particular order.  June in the hills of WNY.


Keeping a sharp eye on things

Our water dog in his favorite habitat!

My first cushion for the thrift store chair

Sneak peek at this month's mini

Attempting to tame Ruby with feathers

Outgrowing the design wall - slow progress

Happy Wednesday!

Saturday, May 29, 2021

My Merry Month of May Mini

After dithering for years about the whats and hows of finishing this little very heavy and stiff batik pictorial piece, I finally bit the bullet and finished it this month.  After playing around with the broken dishes blocks idea for the border, I opted for this plain and simple surround for the batik. 

Quilting the batik was a bear to say the least!  Lots of tension issues.  Thankfully I didn't waste good fabric on the back and just used a plain white well-washed sheet.  Which ended up being a good choice since the back is a hot mess!  

The day was nice and I tried a few photos outside.  The grass was getting long and the quilt wouldn't lie flat but I kind of liked the wavy appearance and the deep green background.

Happy to finally have this finished, though no idea what I'll do with it!  I'll link up when Wendy at The Constant Quilter posts her monthly roundup of mini-makers at the end of the month.  

Rainy, cold weekend in store for us.  We need the rain, though the timing wasn't great for all the weekend warriors.  We'll stay off the roads and have soup for supper, maybe some hot biscuits to go with, and there are strawberries for shortcake if we don't snack on them beforehand.  Hope you're enjoying this holiday weekend and remembering all those real warriors who gave their lives for our freedoms.  May their sacrifice not be in vain.

Friday, May 21, 2021

A Simply Easy Friday Finish

 So, evenings I've begun the hand quilting on my Diamond Jubilee quilt, and there are four more flimsies awaiting machine quilting soon.  Needing something easy to work on at quilt ministry a couple weeks ago, I pulled two older donated fabrics from the church stash and cut some long strips.  Easy-peasy piecing on the Singer 201, and the next day I pulled three fabrics from my home stash, made a back, found leftovers from some 100% cotton batting who-knows-how-old, pieced a frankenbatt, fired up the Janome and this is the result.

This is destined for our nursing home ministry, likely for someone who is bedridden since its finished measurement after washing is 49x67 inches, too large for a wheelchair quilt.

Wondering if anyone has a clue as to the age of the printed fabric.  It was 40 inches selvedge to selvedge, no manufacturer identification in the selvedges.  The red solid is also older I think, measuring just 39 inches selvedge to selvedge. And it was a real lint magnet, catching every little bit of wayward batting. Even after washing and drying every red strip required the lint roller.  Hopefully it will behave itself now that it's completed.

I ditch quilted the seams between the strips, did a serpentine stitch within the red strips, then changed to my FMQ foot and followed the lines of tiny green flowers outlining the motifs.  The quilting shows up a little better on the back.

Quick and easy, and hopefully will bring comfort and some nostalgia to its eventual recipient.

We've had a couple days of mid-high 80s and sunshine and it's feeling like summer may be just around the corner.  I began setting out the zinnias started inside a few weeks ago, but had to quit before noon because of the intense heat.  Maybe next week we can get our tomato starts out into the garden.

While photographing the quilt I noticed these just beginning to bloom.
This "bush" is probably 30 feet high now, and its blooms are all above my head.  This variety doesn't have a heavy aroma like many lilacs, but we enjoy their blooms for the short period that we have them.
What is very disheartening this spring is the absence of honeybees in our immediate area.  I have literally seen none in my walks around the yard and hubby has only spotted one or two. We'll need to pay close attention when the tomatoes begin blooming, and may have to hand pollinate them with a little brush.  

The trail cam showed a black bear close to the house the other night, no doubt hoping the suet feeder would have been refilled after he made off with the previous block a week or so before (it wasn't).  It was around 2 a.m., thankfully he didn't arouse the dog with his presence nearby, and left without damaging the rail fence or pulling down the feeder post as he's done in prior years.  A huge porcupine was spotted in the woods beyond the creek a week or so ago when hubby and Gibbs were out on their daily hike. Thankfully Gibbs obeys perfectly when they are on the mountain, so he escaped any quill attack.  

That's about it from our little corner of the world.  Hoping to have my May mini finished by the end of next week.  

Hope the sun is shining where you are!