Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Three Misfits

An appropriate subtitle might read "She thought she could but she was wrong!"  The story begins a year or maybe it's two years now, anyway quite a while ago when I read one of Bonnie Hunter's posts about her delectable mountains quilt and her free pattern for same.  It looked easy enough, and I proceeded to cut a huge pile of squares in hopes of making some sort of "purple mountain majesties" quilt of my own.  Long story short, try as I might, I kept messing up on the final cut to complete the blocks, and my mountain majesties were quickly turning into a one-way spiky trek up the same l-o-n-g mountain.  Only a few blocks turned out right, and they will show up eventually in the photos below.  So, what to do with all the uncut large HST's still sitting there?  Arrowhead blocks maybe?  Made two of those but didn't care for them, so the final option became hourglass blocks.  By this time I was thoroughly tired of messing with them, hated looking at the fabrics, gave away all but a couple of the purple HST squares to a visitor at one of our quilt ministry meetings, and threw the remainder together into three small wheelchair lap quilts for one of our local nursing homes.  Thus, the finale:

These quilts are smaller than they appear in the photo, the largest is about 40x40 inches, the smallest one around 34 inches square.

The backs:

Some closer shots:

The center panel of this last one is a piece of fabric from our ministry stash that has a coated shiny, almost crinkly texture.  Pretty, but it created havoc with the machine tension on the back of the free motion quilting.  There are a few little messes of dark thread on the reverse behind the panel, but with the coated shiny texture I was leery of unstitching and redoing because it seems certain that the original needle holes were going to remain.  Too bad, because it was overall the nicest of the three quilts.

So, there endeth my long sad saga with The Three Misfits.  You gotta show the bad along with the good, right?  

The past couple days have been spent slowly cutting lots of tiny pieces for the next four blocks of my Diamond Jubilee quilt.  I'm making a version of the Sunflower Quilt shown in Betsy Chutchian and Carol Staehle's book 19th-Century Patchwork Divas' Treasury of Quilts.  Hoping to have all four blocks completed by the end of the month.  I really want to devote much of my time now to making this quilt, so I may end up linking the three little quilts above as my mini(s) for the month with Wendy at The Constant Quilter when she posts her mini at the end of this month.

The trees are beginning to color up on the higher hillsides, and we had our first real frost night before last.  Autumn will be in full glory very soon.  Our skies are hazy with the smoke from the western wildfires and we just heard that remnants of the smoke plume have reached Europe.  The sunrise today was an exceptionally bright orange in contrast to the beige-grayish sky.  Eerily beautiful, but the knowledge of the destruction left in the wake of the fires is so very sad.  Our prayers go out to all those who are enduring the terrible air quality conditions as well as those potentially in the path of the wildfires.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Finishing the Month with a Mini

 Behold, an Almost Rogue Amish mini from Lori's 2019 fall quilt-along, is finally well and truly finished! Binding added this morning after some hasty sparse big-stitch hand quilting last week before the grands arrived on Friday evening.

Most of the predicted storms never materialized and the kids were able to swim in the creek, climb the mountain on the other side, have their requested campfire with S-mores, and more importantly, keep the dog well exercised and totally exhausted by the time they left!

Seven-year-old version of King of the Mountain

 the Energizer Bunny culprit!

At the other end of the house  another Swiffer Box Quilt  was in its early stages, designed from leftover orphan blocks, strips and squares, this time by our 9-year-old granddaughter.  Guess I'll have my work cut out for me in the coming weeks, but that many leftover scrappy hunks I won't have to deal with later!

After the busy weekend, it was nice to walk around the property taking in the last of the summer flowers.  

Interesting how the orange binding appears yellow where the sunlight hits.

We're still harvesting an abundance of summer squash, and the winter squashes are getting there.  Something is attacking our few butternut squashes, most likely deer, but the Delicata, Carnival, and Spaghetti squash seem to be undisturbed so far. The roma tomatoes are getting there, we should harvest the first few by weeks end for our first tomato-basil pie of the season.  The last of the green beans will likely disappear with dinner tonight.  Fall is quickly approaching, my favorite season.

Linking to Wendy's post at The Constant Quilter where you'll find many other wonderful minis.  While you're visiting her blog, be sure to check out her previous post showing her fabulous Community Supper quilt.  It's amazing!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

August Doings

 This month seems to have flown by with what seemed to be little accomplishment, but this morning I managed to stitch the last long diagonal seam and "Lines and Boxes II" became a completed flimsy. 

This is the second quilt made from a big box of scraps cut for a quilt several years ago, which was donated to our camp auction.  The first one was called Lines and Boxes and this one is Lines and Boxes II.  Both named for a comment my young, probably 4-year-old son at the time, made.  One night at supper he asked his dad "Why do you always wear lines and boxes (stripes and plaids)?  That innocent question has stuck in my memory for over 40 years, so it seems appropriate that this last quilt from that box of squares and rectangles should be named in his honor and given to him when it's eventually finished.   The top currently measures 86x96 inches and uses up a lot of semi-vintage 1980s and forward fabric scraps.  

It began with laying out the pieces on the floor of the church foyer at one of our quilt ministry get-togethers earlier this summer, since there is no place for anything this large in our house. The alternate nine-patch or puss-in-the-corner blocks were sewn during the first few weeks of our lockdown last spring.

Then the long days this month sewing all the diagonal rows together, trying to keep everything in order. Only a few of the shorter rows fit on the design wall.

So happy to finally finish this morning and the impending rain/wind storm has held off long enough to snap a few quick photos outside.  I'll be machine quilting this later this fall or over the winter as time allows.  But in the meantime, my sewing room will be occupied by three grandkids over the weekend so everything needs be put away to allow for all those air mattresses, duffel bags, etc. etc.  I'm so looking forward to their visit since we haven't seen them since Christmas!  Their mom and I will be busy sewing more masks for the beginning of school year (mom is a high school teacher), so there will be plenty to keep all of us busy.  Good times!

And now there is a nearly empty tote to fill with another future project.  Thinking about turning the few remaining blocks from this project into a couple of utility placemats for our table.  That should finish them off completely.  Yay, so good to have one of my oldest PIGS on the road to completion and the bin of scrappy pieces finally gone!

Sunday, August 9, 2020

After the Storm and First Fruits

 Early one evening last week we had a freak storm that began with thundering hail for several minutes, followed by gentle rain that lasted until nearly sunset.  When it subsided, this was our view from the back porch.

And then there was this little guy, one of several who provide a daily flying circus in and around the porch for our continuous entertainment.

Over the weekend I completed the quilting and binding of a lap or wall quilt destined for this year's camp auction over Labor Day weekend.  The top was appliqued/pieced by my friend Lois a few years ago. Finished size is 40x46 inches.  I've had the top hanging in my closet for two years or so, but never was able to work up any enthusiasm about quilting and finishing it.

When preparing the donation label for the quilt I decided to name it First Fruits. Though not depicting the first barley harvest of the Biblical feast of that name, the name stands as a reminder that God's blessings span the harvest throughout seasons and years.  The stars and moon of creation, the kitten representing the animal kingdom, the squash/pumpkins symbolizing the first fruits of autumn gathered for our physical sustenance through the long winter months, the hearts for the love that sustains our spirit.  Thinking of it in those terms my attitude toward it has changed.  

Perhaps what we all need in this year of our discontent is a change of heart.  A new, hopeful, and positive way of looking at the blessings that abound all around us, and less on fear, anxiety, hatred and hopelessness.  

May your week be filled with hope and joy!

p.s.  At least temporarily I've changed my blog settings to only include comments from google accounts. This is an attempt to reduce the abundance of filthy spam comments since the new 'improved' blogger was initiated.  Although I've always had comment moderation in place and hopefully nothing like I've seen recently has ever shown up on the blog itself, I've grown weary of having to see them myself.  I may or may not change the setting back, depending on whether it makes any difference in the spam received.  Please bear with me, and know that I appreciate all your kind words and encouragement.

Also, if anyone knows how to get rid of the "Redirect notice" every time I click on others' posts in my blogger dashboard, please let me know.  It should be obvious that if someone clicks on a blog post, they really want to go there, but blogger apparently thinks we need protection from the good guys while allowing the spammers to get through.  Sounds kind of familiar doesn't it.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Two Minis

Here we are near the end of July, the blueberries and green beans are ripening fast, the tomatoes finally have some small fruit, it's sunny, hot and humid, and all's well with the world (at least in the fantasy world of my mind).

A couple weeks back I was the delighted winner of a wonderful giveaway celebrating Pat Taylor's tenth year of blogging at Thoughts from Taylorsoutback. And a few days ago a little package  arrived in our mailbox.  Isn't this the most adorable mini quilt!

Sorry about the shadow in the upper portion of the photo.  That sweet pincushion accompanied the little quilt on its journey and now resides next to my Singer 201, the machine I generally use for piecing my quilts.   I just love these cute little conversation prints in some of the quilt squares, so diminutive and sweet. Thanks so much Pat!  

Next up is my mini for July.  The hand quilting was finished early in the month and binding recently completed.  

The quilting shows a little better in this photo of the back.

The front was made up of another quilter's excess or rejected triangle squares, still attached to their triangle papers, the border and sashings from small pieces in my stash. The back is part of the excess from a piece of wide backing fabric purchased for the Sherbet Jumble quilt, along with a frankenbatting pieced from several leftover pieces.  Gotta love make-do!

I'll link up with Wendy at The Constant Quilter when she posts her end of the month mini linkup later this week.  Til then, happy quilting and harvesting!   

Friday, July 10, 2020

A Finish For Friday

This week has been one of many things, some exciting, others not so much.  On the exciting front, my sister and I have met through Ancestry and now Facebook a first cousin who we knew of but had lost track of over the years.  My sister had met her personally when they were quite young, however I had moved to the city by then and never met this cousin.  So, we are getting acquainted though separated by around 2,000 miles!  

Then, there is this quilty finish.  The top I'd been calling 'Sherbet Jumble' is now a finished quilt, destined for our quilt ministry to be given to a young woman with a chronic serious health condition.   

This was machine quilted, mostly with the even feed foot echoing the triangles, and free motion leaves and loops in the outer border.  A bit of the back:

This is just a tad smaller than a full queen size, and finished at about 73 x 86 inches.  A very cottage-shabby-chic look.  I hope the recipient will like it.

I had to try a few outside photos, of course!  

On the downside a few days ago I awoke with more visual distortion than usual in my left eye.  I got an appointment with our local eye doctor the same day to rule out retina detachment.  Thankfully it wasn't that, but what I'm currently living with is a piece of the vitreous gel that lies in front of the retina that has separated and is now floating around my eye, along with more stringy 'floaters' than usual.  I can best describe it as trying to look through a constantly moving piece of those clear jellyfish you find washed up on a beach.  Fun, huh.  Threading a needle becomes almost comical.  The doctor said these pieces will typically dissolve/disappear in a few weeks.  Follow-up appointment in mid-August.  Getting old sure isn't for wimps, let me tell ya!  

Off now to try stitching some easy puss-in-the-corner blocks.  What could possibly go wrong?

Happy quilting, camping, just sinking your bare feet into the green grass of summer, or whatever your weekend holds in store for you!
Faith over fear.

Monday, June 29, 2020

June Mini

While I had hoped to have a different mini finish for June, the decision to hand quilt that piece slowed the process.  It should be ready for July's linkup with Wendy at The Constant Quilter

In the meantime another small free motion practice piece that I wanted to save, especially for the dahlia design - fun to do and especially effective on a solid or nearly solid border.  Without further ado -

The front

and the reverse 

I'll link up with Wendy when she posts her June linky party.   In the meantime if you haven't seen her posts while building her Community Supper quilt, be sure to check out her recent blog posts.  This is going to be one fabulous quilt!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Trying Out the New Blogger with a New Finish

June has been a month of contrasts this year, bright starry nights with hundreds of fireflies flickering in rhythmic harmony over the hayfield, nearly 90 degree days followed by a killing frost last weekend, followed almost immediately by more sunny 80+ degree temps.  Apropos for the year I suppose.

And this morning dawned bright and clear, the neighboring subsistence farmer who cuts, bales and takes our hay for his small farm finished baling a couple days ago.  The bales were still in the field this morning, and how could I not take advantage of that for a photoshoot of the newest finish!  Last stitch put in the binding at 10:30 last night.

Accompanied by my trusty friend of course!

And now I can't figure out how to left align the text after inserting photos.  Oh well, onward!

This is Joseph's Coat II, the third of the tops pieced during Lori's Humble Quilts 2019 Stringalong Challenge.  Hand quilted with my version of big stitch quilting with Aurifil 12 wt. thread in a variety of bright colors.  Such fun, and to think there's another one, Joseph's Coat I, still awaiting a similar "organic line, nothing marked" quilting.   

Gibbs and I walked around after these were taken, looking for other things to photograph. There was the quilt, in various poses, of course.

Interesting to see how the camera interprets the colors in sun vs. shady areas of the yard.

OK, now suddenly I'm left-aligned for text again.  Wondering how that happened.  There's not much blooming at the moment.  The poppies are just about gone, and the peonies will be in just a few days.
The area in the photo above will be filled with black-eyed Susans and hopefully zinnias before too long.

Peonies are just about my favorite flower after daffodils, and this one outdid itself this year.  

After our walkabout, the quilt went inside for its beauty bath, and emerged all soft and crinkly after a short session in the dryer.   The top before quilting measured 55x72, the finished quilt is 51x68-1/2 inches.  I'm hoping to finish the other similar quilt later this summer.  I think the grandkids will love snuggling under these bright cheerful quilts when they visit next.

As for the new blogger, I much prefer the old version, so much easier to navigate, but I'm very grateful to my blogging friends who have posted tips on how to navigate this new quagmire.  Some have found uploading photos to be cumbersome and excruciatingly slow.  Out here in the country we only have access to HughesNet, the speed of which is sporadic at best, so that part hasn't been much different than in the past.  

We're supposed to enter Phase III next week, depending on the whim of our state dictator.  Wondering if life will ever reach some semblance of the real normal again, or if this is the never-ending year of the oxymoron.  Nuf said about that!

Quilt on dear friends!  Faith over fear!