Saturday, June 22, 2019

Vintage Pansies Quilt is a Finish!

At long last, the Vintage Pansies can be placed in the finish column, and ready for donation to the camp auction later this summer.  This was my One Monthly Goal for June.

The finished quilt measures 83 inches square, prior to washing.  I worked very hard to keep everything clean and free of floating dog hair while working on it in hopes of not having to wash it prior to the auction. 

Close supervision during the entire photo shoot was apparently required.  The lint roller will be employed prior to donation to catch any stray bits of puppy hair and loose threads.

A close-up of the lovely vintage embroidered blocks purchased a few years ago from an online auction.

The back doesn't photograph well, but this is actually a little white on white floral patterned wide back.  Very soft, unlike many of the more coarsely woven wide backings available.  I wish I had bought more of this one.

Bound with the same black floral as the outermost border. 

I'll be linking with Patty at Elm Street Quilts as soon as the One Monthly Goal June Finish post goes live at the end of the month. 

I'll leave you with this vision of catitude, taken yesterday.  We finally decided on a name for this little vagabond, we're calling him Probie (Probationary Cat) which describes his current status.  His tenure will be dependent on whether he and our dog can learn to get along, especially in the house.  We're hoping for the best, they both make us laugh, and we all need all the laughter we can squeeze into our days!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Some Progress and Some Sweet Deliveries

Today turned out to be a great day.  First, there was no rain although it was chilly with 35 mph winds all day.  A little easier to take when the sun is shining though!

Happy to report I've made some progress on my June OMG, as all nine embroidered blocks are now quilted.  "All" that remains now are quilting the cornerstones, the two borders, and adding the binding.  Doable I think by the end of the month.  Here's a sneak peek of progress to date.

Basically just outlining and then echoing the embroidered elements and then loosely filling in the white areas with meandering loops and leaves, etc.  Quilting these blocks was very slow as some areas of embroidery used large stitches that the open-toe fmq foot managed to snag when I wasn't paying attention.  So very happy to call these done.

The Fedex truck brought a couple of dandy surprises this afternoon.  I was a winner of last month's One Monthly Goal link up hosted by Patty at Elm Street Quilts, and this was my prize - a barn quilt by  Wowsers, is this ever nice!  I've wanted to make a barn block for our barn for years, but never got around to it.  This is perfect, waterproof and fade resistant, not to mention beautiful!

Kristi Coupe, the owner and designer of these barn quilt blocks, gave me a choice from their current inventory, and I chose this one as the colors would look great on either the barn or the garage or house.  For the moment it is decorating a corner of the dining room while we decide which building to install it. The barn blocks come extremely well protected with corner guards and packed in a heavy duty box with a couple layers of bubble wrap, as well as a packet of installation hardware.

Oh yes, I mentioned a couple surprises.  The second was won a while back on Wendy's (Wendy's Quilts and More) Peacock Party:  a collection of Aurifil 12 weight threads called Passionflower by designer Jo Avery.  I see a future whimsical bright quilt for my granddaughter with big stitch hand quilting with these lovely threads.

A big thank you to the prize donors and to Patty and Wendy who host the One Monthly Goal and Peacock parties respectively.

Last but certainly not least, our first surprise of the week arrived on Sunday afternoon, and seems to have adopted our back porch as his new home.
This little no-name arrived totally emaciated, but seems otherwise in good condition, likely a "country road drop-off."  He seems quite young, but is going to be a very large boy when he's full grown.  He's very tall and long right now, but light as a feather.  Not much more to him than skin, fur and bones, though we're working at remedying that!   He seems very gentle and good natured, desperate for affection, obviously not a feral cat.  We're still trying to decide on a name, Oscar is in contention but I'm open to suggestions.  If he sticks around for another week or so, we'll get him to the vet for shots and a general checkup, then the other necessities.  He already has a kitty bed with a quilt on the covered porch, though he has also commandeered one of the cushy chairs out there.  He's also quite the "talker."

That about wraps up my week.  Linking with Wendy's Peacock Party.
Til next time, happy stitching!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Lemons and Lemonade

Good Monday-morning!  Right up front I'm going to show you the lemon.

Last fall I became momentarily enamored with Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Mountain Majesty quilts and copied off her tutorial to show our quilt ministry group.  Decided to make one.  Well, that turned into a bit of a disaster, and I put it aside for several months.  Got it back out a week ago to try again, and a few things became quite obvious.  I'm way too dyslexic to make these blocks correctly, and beyond that I just don't like making them!  So, this little pile will eventually wind up being finished off to donate to the local nursing home for one of their wheelchair-bound residents.

But, with lemons there's always an opportunity for making lemonade!  A couple weeks ago, Randy at Barrister's Block showed a child's donation quilt she had made using the Arrowhead block.  She indicated she would be sharing her pattern/tutorial soon.  Since I have a big stack of leftover squares from the failed attempt with the majestic mountains block, I decided to try my hand at making  something similar to Randy's blocks, and ended up with these.
I love these little blocks!   I'm looking forward to seeing Randy's instructions to see if she has an easier construction method, but these weren't all that difficult and one of the best things about them is that there are no bias edges around the block perimeter!  That's a pretty big win-win in my book.

After a light frost last Tuesday it has warmed up considerably and has even been sunny for three days in a row!  Seems like a small miracle this year.  The ground is still extremely soggy so much of the garden is not yet planted, but hopefully soon.  We can't complain though as so many in the country have endured far worse in the way of floods and tornadoes and now the fires in the west.  Our hearts go out to all the farm families whose livelihood depends on being able to get their crops in the ground in time for a full season's growth.

Here in our neck of the woods, the late spring flowers are coming into bloom.  The blue irises were the first to open.  These are my favorites.

I think these are Johnny-Jump-ups, correct me if I'm wrong.  They apparently self-seeded from a couple hanging baskets from last year, and they've been coming up all around the property, and have bloomed since very early spring.  Some yellow, some purple, and some a combination of colors.
Last week my husband found this tiny one, only about 1/4 inch across!  I couldn't get a good angle in the bright sunlight, but here's a shot of that tiny one compared with a dime.

The first poppy bloomed on Friday.  There are several more opening each day.  I do wish the flowers lasted a bit longer.  That first bloom has already begun to fade.

Our creek bed is full of fossils of various sorts, but these two are kind of unique, in that the two pieces seem to fit together perfectly!   More and more of these little treasures seem to be finding their way up to the various flower gardens and all along the base of the back porch and decks.  Country decor!

And speaking of country decor, my yard sale find from last weekend, this sweet Wheeling Corrugated Company (WVa) washtub, probably from the 1950s!  In better condition than the battered one hubby dragged home from the hillside (now doing duty as a planter), but with much less patina since it had been stored in someone's garage for years.  It will be planted with flowers as soon as I can make a trip to the semi-local nursery.

The first of the peonies bloomed yesterday.

This variety reminds me of the ones my mom had in her little flower garden when I was very young.  I loved them so much I would fill my pockets with the fallen petals, and even took a big bag of petals to school to share with everyone in my kindergarten class!  You can take the girl out of the country but ...

Til next time, happy quilting!

Saturday, June 1, 2019

One Monthly Goal for June

It's time to join a lot of others linking up with Patty at Elm Street Quilts for the June Goal Setting post here.

June's goal is an easy one to set, though maybe not such an easy one to complete, we shall see.  This quilt is made from a top purchased on eBay a few years back  that I completely disassembled due to the poor workmanship when the original sashing and border strips were added. 

I hasten to add that the vintage embroidered blocks were beautifully executed. They show up a bit better in the next photo.  There were 12 blocks in the original quilt top, though inexplicably one block was of a completely different pattern and had been left unembroidered!

The original sashing/border fabric.  Maybe I'll find a use for it in a future scrappy project.

I thought the blocks needed some contrast in the borders, so I chose this vintage(?) floral from my stash for that purpose.  I like the way it highlights the purple in the pansies.

The embroidered blocks are 17 inches square. Using nine of them plus sashings and borders, the new top now measures 84-1/2" square.  I began quilting this past week, with the ditch quilting completed and the first embroidered block partially done.  Though I had been dreading quilting those blocks, they are actually turning out to be way more fun than expected!

My goal for June is to complete the machine quilting and hopefully also the binding.  This quilt will be heading to the church camp benefit auction over Labor Day weekend. 

Yesterday hubby brought this beauty in for a quick visit before returning it to the wild.  Here it is resting on the ironing board. Guessing from wing tip to wing tip it measured nearly 5 inches.  Though we often find individual wings left after the birds devour this apparently delicious morsel, we seldom find one both fully intact and still alive.

Til next time, happy quilting!

Friday, May 31, 2019

String Quiltalong Progress, Potpourri, and a Sweet Win

Here it is the end of May and my quota of 4 additional string blocks are complete!  This might be the first month I've actually had them done and dusted before the last day of the month.  Because I abandoned my other projects for a couple days.  But I'm happy with the way this quilt is turning out.

When I started the plan was to create a total of 16 blocks, add a border and call it good.  With borders added it would have measured only about 50 inches square, not a very useful size for anything beyond a nursing home quilt, and I was wanting to keep this one.  So, a decision was made to make an additional 8 blocks which would have made it about 50 x 70 or so.  Too narrow.  Moving forward to the newest version, I think I'll add one additional block to the width which should bring it to a nice throw or single bed size depending on how large the border(s) become.

As of now, this is how it's shaping up.  These blocks represent what I'd planned as the original size.

Even with all the planned additional blocks, the pile of blue strings will not be depleted when I'm finished, not even close.  A possible encore might be Chinese Coins.  I've been wanting to try making one of those for quite awhile.  Linking my current progress with Lori at Humble Quilts who is graciously hosting this stringalong challenge.

Meanwhile, I was the happy winner of a recent giveaway from Jocelyn at Happy Cottage Quilter.  What an amazing array of goodies!

I kept a couple items for my stash, notably the Thangles which I've never used before.  Took the remaining items to quilt ministry last week to share with the group, and everything was snapped up in less than five minutes!  Thank you so much Jocelyn, from all of us!

A few days ago my quilting buddy Lois and I ventured out to the Finger Lakes area for a bit of yard sale fun as well as plant buying.  When we were finished her Mini-Cooper was filled to capacity, mostly with plants but also a few other treasures.  My yard sale finds - totaling $4.50.

I'm especially loving the half-a-hoop, and have put it to use already! 

It came with the original label attached, apparently never used, though I think it must be at least 20 years old, possibly more. 

That discarded metal tape measure found at the first yard sale we visited will find another life in an upcoming project - stay tuned!

We visited a new-to-me quilt shop, though being on a self-imposed fabric budget I only picked up these fat quarters.  Next time ...

But best of all, among the plant purchases, my favorite, which took up quite a bit of space in the back of the car, those geraniums flower clusters are softball size, and now the focal point of our small back porch.

So happy to see this when looking out the kitchen or laundry room windows, hope I can keep it looking as good as it is now.

And that's about it from my little corner of the world.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Utility Stitching ...

About 40 years ago, when the world and I were much younger, I spent a couple semesters learning hand weaving, and eventually got a loom.  One of the first warps loaded onto that loom was about 20 yards long, a fairly thin cotton in random gold/brown colored stripes, with a thick white cotton weft from which I wove a sequence of placemats until that warp was used up, then reloaded the loom with green and light yellow stripes and wove more.  Gave many away, but kept about ten for our household use.  They've been in service all these years.

Now, those who know me well know that I'm a make-do, use-it-up, wear-it-out kind of gal.  But really ... after nearly 40 years and who knows how many times through the wash ...

There are several in this condition, and more that will be within the next few months.  One has a huge ink stain on it (?)  Sheesh!  Now the only reason the one in the photo is still here is that my dear hubby won't let me throw it out!  I made it, therefore it should last forever, right?  Hmm, I don't think so.  Even I won't be putting that on the table again!

Being at loose ends (read funk) in the quilting room, I'd been eyeing all the small totes and swiffer boxes filled with leftover triangles and HST blocks left over from a number of projects.  The one that has hung around the longest revealed two sizes of leftover pieces from my basket-making fun a couple years back.  There were enough of the larger triangles to make hourglass squares for three new placemats.  Or, stretching the definition just quite a bit, mini or small quilts.  Albeit with large piecing. Without further ado, here they are. Ditch quilted, and bound with some leftover pieces of older bias-cut plaid bindings gleaned from yet another swiffer refill box.

My camera was totally unable to reproduce the pretty creams and tans of the lighter triangles and most are quite washed out in these photos.

This third mat will probably go on the little bistro table on the back porch where I love to have my mid-morning latte on warm days. 

The backs of all three are from a couple pieces of a cute fabric line with teapots. 

At quilt ministry last week I pinned a large 84 inch square quilt, destined for this year's auction.  It has sat folded next to the Janome since last Tuesday, for some reason I can't work up the energy or kick my quilting mojo into high gear to even begin quilting it.   These wonky little placemats are all I have to show for a week's worth of stitching.  There are three more large quilts all cut out awaiting piecing, a king size (Quilty 365) in the hoop, Westering Women and the Christmas Stars tops hang in the closet awaiting their turn, along with a mini for another month, and on it goes.   I do hope this lethargy passes soon, it definitely doesn't help my state of mind when the energy level goes this low.
Thinking right now how good a pot of salted caramel black tea would taste.

Maybe I'll finish my string blocks for this month and then get started on quilting the latest beast.  In a couple days.  First though I may just stitch up another couple placemats.  Simple utility sewing can be kind of fun sometimes.  Sure beats mending!

Friday, May 10, 2019

A May Finish

Feeling just a wee bit ahead of the game with my One Monthly Goal finished so early in the month!  My goal was to finish this comfort quilt for a young boy in our area who is suffering complications from Lyme disease.  It has been delivered to him and hopefully he loves it as much as I loved making it for him.

The morning after the binding was stitched we awoke to a lovely hazy sunshine, sometimes perfect for outdoor photos.  So, even before my morning cuppa I whisked it outside for a few shots.

Sadly my lack of coffee must have had something to do with my shaky hands that morning as most of the outside shots turned out rather blurry.   And, the ground was wet from rain the previous evening so by the time we came back inside the quilt headed right for the washer and me for the coffee pot!

When the quilt was dry, we tried again, this time inside.

Quilting was mostly simple outlining of some of the major elements in each block, loopy meander around the solid block borders, and meandering of the large 10-inch outer border.

A couple close-ups:

And a look at the back - I love this print, reminds me so much of my own childhood back in the 50s when things like decoder rings, rocket ships, comic books and science kits were all the rage.

And with that, I'll wish you all a lovely weekend!  Linking with Wendy's Peacock Party.  I'll link with Patty at Elm Street Quilts when her One Monthly Goal linky party opens later this month.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

One Monthly Goal for May

Around the middle of April our quilt ministry learned of a little 7-year-old boy who is chronically ill with the effects of Lyme Disease that has attacked many of his major organs.  I felt strongly called to offer some comfort through a quilt from our ministry.  Somehow I feel an urgency about this one, though I don't know why, but it immediately jumped to the top of the playlist.  Thus was my latest squirrel to enter my little sewing space and wreak general havoc on the best-laid plans of mice and quilters.

First, a little design wall play with some block layout possibilities.

And a finished top.

Fabrics are from two older In The Beginning lines, Catkin and Folklorica, gleaned from my stash and a donation to the quilt ministry a couple years back.   The size ended up being square to accommodate my remaining  Catkin border fabric from a grandson's quilt made back in 2012.

I'm using very simple meandering and outline machine quilting on the Janome to finish this off.
Quilting is progressing more slowly due to a couple of family emergencies, but I hope to get the quilting completed and a binding cut and sewn on in the next week or two, and that is my One Monthly Goal for May.   Linking with Patty at Elm Street Quilts for the May Goal-Setting Linkup.  Thanks Patty for keeping us inspired and on track each month!