Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Starshine - An August Finish!

It's another collaboration, fifteen Ohio Star blocks were donated to our Quilt Ministry, another member made a 16th block, sashed and bordered this lap or throw size quilt.  I pieced the back from some sweet vintage garden themed yardage in my stash, quilted and bound this one, again destined for the Labor Day weekend benefit auction.

The yard is again soaking wet from an early morning downpour, though I seem to have caught the few rays of sunshine we've had in some of the following indoor shots.  Here it is fresh from its spa treatment in the washer and dryer.

This quilt was 60x60 inches when I began quilting it, but after quilting, binding and a cold water rinse and drying on very low heat it's now barely 55-1/2 inches square.  That is probably the highest rate of shrinkage I've ever seen in one of my quilts, I'm guessing because of the matchstick quilting surrounding the stars.

The sashing and cornerstones Lois added between the Ohio Star blocks created a nice Shoofly block secondary pattern.

A close-up of the back shows the quilting a little better, and also shows the simple border quilting.

I drew most of the quilting designs freehand with a blue washout marker, and used one of my kleenex box circle templates to draw the curves in the border.  Nothing fancy but it gets the job done.

Needing to give my wrist a rest for a day or two before I get back to (hopefully) the last throw quilt for the auction.  Meanwhile there's a bit of play happening on the design wall as I discovered another grocery bag of Lois's scraps in one of our ministry totes yesterday.  Seven completed blocks and lots more strips cut.  Wondering why I never seem to get around to starting a new project from my own yardage totes, only scraps.  How does that happen anyway???

More soon!

P.S.  Yes, I'm aware of the 'humility block' in this finish!  Because I know most of you will see it right off!  It was discovered when we were sandwiching the quilt and we decided to just leave that little quirk right where it was!   Call it character.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Tutti Frutti is a Finish!

This morning at long last the finishing stitches were put in the binding and I'm calling Tutti Frutti a finish!  Of course there's still the label, but that will be sewn on at Quilt Ministry tomorrow.  For now I'm just basking in the long-awaited thrill of finally having this one finished!

No outdoor glamour shots of this one as we're in the midst of a rainy spell rendering all my favorite areas muddy and unusable.  Pretty gloomy inside this morning as I took these photos.

A closer look 

The main portion was quilted with a version of Angela Walters Leafy Meander design.  Fun to do except over those dratted seam intersections where the FMQ foot wanted to bog down.  Toward the end of quilting this portion I discovered a little adjustment on the foot allowing it to rest a bit higher from the fabric surface.  Duh!  Having not paid much attention to the manual that came with the machine I wasn't aware this adjustment even existed, and since the foot had worked well the first couple years my suspicion is that the little adjustment dial was inadvertently moved a smidgeon every time the foot was installed or removed from the machine.  Lesson learned - always refer to the owners manual when difficulties arise - sometimes they are even helpful!!  Ahem ...

Borders quilted with spineless feathers

Back corner

The quilting shows up even more nicely on the back of the quilt that was pieced with leftover slabs of  a couple of the fabrics used on the front.

As mentioned in a previous post, this was based on a pattern of the same name from Pam and Nicky Lintott's book Jelly Roll Quilts in a Weekend.  A misnomer in my case as this quilt has been in the works for about three months now!  I added an additional row of blocks and the border to bring the quilt to a more desirable size for the benefit auction.  Fabrics came from a donated fat eighth bundle and my scraps.  I used Hobbs 80-20 cotton-poly batting and quilted this on my domestic Janome 7700 using Aurifil 50 wt. thread for both top and bobbin.  Finished size about 72x72 inches.

And now -
In other news, a few evenings back this fellow showed up in our side yard garden just before sunset. 

Pulled down the pole holding the finch feeder, crunched it up and was busy eating niger seed when we discovered him.

Looking rather proud of himself.  These first two photos are about 20 feet from the house!

Rats, I've been discovered!

Western New York version of BigFoot!  The blueberry netting is just visible along the right edge of this photo.  Thankfully he headed off to the woods and has left our blueberries alone ... so far.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Squirrel! A smaller finish

I probably shouldn't be calling this one a squirrel, cause I actually kind of like it, but .....

A week ago our group was given a big package of painted "quilt blocks" done by campers a few years back, and asked to make quilts from them for this year's auction.  Never mind that it's already July now, and there are probably nearly 200 of said blocks....

We won't be making quilts of all of them since the paint is heavily applied on many of them, and chipping off some of them, others are just blobs of green, brown, and black and blue.  But there are some that have possibilities, as long as we're not trying to actually "quilt" through those blocks.

So, I chose 20 of the blocks and gave them sashings with some recently donated fabric I had left over from another project (yet to be blogged about).  Added a couple borders from another box of donated fabrics, backed the whole thing with leftover pieces of wide backing which I've found to be a bit heavier than regular quilting fabric and hopefully more stable.  Then a quick quilting through all the sashings and borders, adding a machine binding, and voila, done!

More than a bit of wonk in these blocks - does that make them improv??

Finishing at about 46x47" this should be a good wall hanging size.  I don't think I'd want to go any larger with this, given the stiffness of the blocks from the paint and the chance of chipping off paint on the heavier-coated ones if the fabric is bent during quilting.

Anyway, these two blocks captured my imagination:
Fireflies!  Of which we have many this month!

Love these sponge-painted trees

And now it's back to the tedium of machine quilting those larger quilts that don't want to move through the machine in 90 degree high humidity weather.  Looks like we're due for another 5-6 days before this current heat wave breaks.  But we do have something to look forward to late this week when youngest daughter and our 18-month-old grandson arrive for the weekend!  

Happy stitching, picnicking, vacationing, and whatever makes you happy over this 4th of July week!

Friday, June 22, 2018

"Lines and Boxes" - a June Finish!

When my son was a preschooler one day he asked his dad, "Why do you always wear lines and boxes," referring to his dad's fondness for striped, plaid and checked shirts.  So, looking at this quilt, Lines and Boxes seemed a perfect name!  Quilted with lines, pieced with 'boxes', and finished today, washed, labeled, and bound for the church camp auction later this summer.

Taken just after the sun broke through the fog early this morning, the hillside in the background was still shrouded in mist

The quilt finished at 82-1/2 by 91 inches, shrinking about three inches in both length and width during quilting and the first wash. A good size for either a double or queen size bed.

Shown on the queen size guest bed

This was made primarily of donated scraps with a few additions from my own scrap bins. I ditch quilted every seam, with the diagonal lines creating a shadowy effect in the 6 inch squares when I crossed them.  I like the effect and the result should be very durable, a good quality for a utility quilt.

Though this one will be auctioned, there were plenty of scraps and so I cut enough to make a second similar quilt for us. Hopefully piecing will begin this fall.

Though the grass was soaking wet from yesterday's rain I couldn't resist getting another outside shot in the early morning sunshine!   
Right into the washing machine as soon as we came inside.  Thankfully none of the deep reds and blues bled into the light fabrics! 

And to close for today, a sneak peek at the latest top to go under the needle.  Hoping to have the quilting finished by the end of the month.

Happy weekend, and may your email be filled with sweet quilty comments once again!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Blogger Comments - a home-grown fix?

UPDATE:  Since posting the information below last evening, Carol of Just Let me Quilt has posted a wonderful step-by-step tutorial explaining how to fix the Blogger comment issue!  Just click on the link above to reach her tutorial.  And a big THANK YOU to Gayle of Mangofeet blog for passing along this information to me which got the ball rolling.  We are all so very thankful!!

Today I received a comment on my most recent post from Gayle of Mangofeet blog.  She advised that she has fixed her Blogger comment issue by going into the settings and adding a gmail address into the email comment block.  She received an email at that address requesting confirmation of this as a new 'subscription' for comments, and once she confirmed she started receiving comments again!

So I tried this.  Since I already had my account set to a gmail address, I changed it to another email account I have, confirmed the change when requested, and then made a test comment on my blog.  Got it!    So, then I went in and changed the comment address back to my original gmail account (where I already have many of my blog commenters addresses), reconfirmed that subscription, and voila, my next test comment arrived in my gmail inbox!  Yay!   Now, to see if your comments will do the same.

I hope this explanation is clear, and I hope this works for you too!  Thanks Gayle!

Quilty photos in my next post!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Busman's Holiday

Last Saturday I awoke with a fair amount of pain in my wrists, most likely from the binge machine quilting of late.  So, considering I really didn't want to continue aggravating my wrists, what to do?  The ziplock baggie of blue-gray scraps came out and I played all day made this little doll quilt top, #2 in my series Pieced from Lois's Scraps.

I have a ton of admiration for those quilters who can work with teeny-tiny pieces of fabric, making them and their sewing machines piece in harmony to create perfect little teeny-tiny blocks. These cake stand blocks finish at 4 inches, and only one of the four blocks went together without a hitch. I guess my fingers are just a bit too clumsy to work with tiny pieces! But I love this scrappy little flimsy anyway, for all its quirks and lopped off points! It will finish at about 17 inches square when quilted, hopefully sometime later this fall.

A closer look -"The good block"

One of the other 'bad boys' on the block (though not the worst!)

I wonder if Google will ever get around to fixing the comment-to-email issue that currently plagues all of us. I hope so, as it seems so many of the bloggers I follow are getting mighty discouraged and seem ready to throw in the towel. Sure would hate to see that happen. Is this Google's master plan to discourage and eventually discontinue Blogger? One has to wonder at this point. So very sad.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

A Collaborative Finish!

First, let me apologize to those who left kind comments on my last post.  This blogger nightmare of not sending your comments to my email has taken more time than I have had lately.  I promise to try to do better this time.  Now if Blogger would just fix the mess they've made!

Anyway, another church camp auction quilt is a finish as of this afternoon!  One of our ministry group members created this beautiful Kim Diehl top, and since she wanted to donate it to the auction but does not do her own quilting asked if I would be willing to finish it up for her.  With more than a bit of fear and trepidation I agreed.  Here is our collaborative finish!

Let us just say, the  background quilting is very 'organic' ... a nice way of saying "not very straight lines!"  If there is one good thing about using black thread for quilting, it is that you can't see the mistakes, and in the end just notice the texture.  This was my first time attempting to machine quilt homespun fabrics, except for the large brown blossom pieces, they behaved pretty well.  I had an extra dark bamboo pole just lounging in the corner of the sewing room and decided to put it to use as a hanger for this quilt, which finished at 47" square.  I'm liking the look, and hopefully the eventual buyer will too.

I'm more than a bit under the gun this summer, with at least three, and possibly four more tops to have quilted before the auction Labor Day weekend.  But one of the largest, a queen size, is down to hand stitching the binding to the back.  Another finish very soon, I hope! 

Monday, June 4, 2018


My wild and crazy disappearing nine-patch is finished!  Well, still needing a label, which I'll pick up tomorrow when I get to our quilt ministry meeting.

This one is completely machine quilted, mostly in the Jesters Hat motif, with a single line of serpentine stitch in the first blue border.  It finishes at about 67x80 inches.

The back, where the quilting is a bit more visible:

And its indoor 'glamour' shot, since we've had rain for the past several days, and just too gloomy for outside photography.

Such a good feeling to (finally) have a finish under my belt after what seems a long dry spell!  This quilt is headed for the church camp benefit auction over Labor Day weekend.  More to come, soon I hope!