Thursday, September 7, 2023

An improv log cabin top

 I guess it was finally time to take the plunge, away from the tightly controlled piecing, bland color combos, etc., and reach out for something that seems desperately needed right now - cheerful and bright! Fun, and easy!  

I have two  of my favorite quilty bloggers to thank for this latest adventure. First, Audrey at Quilty Folk who is one of the most creative quilters I've ever encountered, and never fails to inspire me.  She had a little giveaway several years ago, a small quilt top she had begun but lost interest in.  After receiving the piece shown below, I stashed it in a small tote adding bits and pieces of fabric I thought might coordinate, and there it sat for several years.

That little bird really wanted to be placed on-point, but as we all know, you can't always get what you want!

Anyhow, a couple months ago Linda at Kokaquilts posted her latest version of the "Daylesford Quilt", a pattern from Jen Kingwell's book Quilt Recipes.  I fell in love with her version and her creative take on the pattern.  And that was the inspiration for finally turning Audrey's start into a quilt top.

The Daylesford Quilt is basically one big log cabin block, round and round, with some rows and partial rows made up of individual quilt blocks rather than one long strip.  So, I have boxes of small quilt blocks left over from other projects, so I brought them out to play along rather than piecing the blocks indicated in the pattern.  

My "plan" was to incorporate a couple themes from Audrey's small quilt including the bird and her primary colors - pink, lime green and a bit of blue, mixing in some of my leftover blocks here and there. I had pieces of several fabrics with birds and so began with those. The next photo shows the first couple rounds. Adding those bits from previous quilts dictates the width of the next round (and sometimes the previous one).

Auditioning the next round:

Trying out a potential outer round that was later nixed.

I was happy with the top at this point, but it was way too small to become anything but a wallhanging, which we don't need. I love that I was able to use several of my leftover Quilty 365 blocks here.

What about this luscious iris print for the outside round/border?  Hemmed and hawed for a couple days over this, though I'd already cut a couple strips from the yardage ...

What if ...
That dark piece had to go.

Checked homespun to fill out the border - just right.  The last two rounds each have just two prints rather than four.  And we have a finished top - about 58x66 inches.

It feels so good to have had some quality stitching time after a summer of very little sewing other than finishing others' quilt tops for the auction.  And this easy-peasy piecing was just what I needed relative to the deterioration of my vision which has gotten much worse during the past couple months.  I ended up attaching a Sewing Edge Reusable Vinyl Stop to the bed of my Singer 201 so that I could guide the fabric through more by touch than sight to keep a consistent quarter inch seam.  We quilters always find a way!  And, I have an appointment with a retina specialist in another week.  Hopefully the current issues can be improved upon or at the very least kept from getting any worse.   

As for this quilt top, I love it!  It will be machine quilted, hopefully before too many months.  And this one is not going anywhere except to the back of my recliner or the couch for cozy warmth this winter.  

Til next time, happy stitching!

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

When the back becomes the front ...

 Great-grandgirl's quilt is finished at last, I'm happy to say.  A bit of angst in the making, but I think it has turned out all right in the end.  Here is the original front of the quilt after quilting:

I have to say when the top was complete I hated it.  Totally meh.  But there was hope in the remaining fabrics I'd selected for the back, and with a few additions from the scrap pile, and  careful placement and pinning of the layers I was able to turn the back into the new front!

Way more fun, don't you think?  Quilted very simply following the  lines of the blocks of the original front.  Done and dusted and awaiting baby's arrival in the fall.

Then in other quilty news, my version of Vintage Spin is a top!  This was totally fun in the making, and I'm thinking of making another using my tote of batik fabrics, if my eyes begin to cooperate again.  Been having some real issues, doctor's appt. next week and hoping for a resolution.  Right now I'm typing with one eye closed since the two eyes are not syncing at all and much blurriness and tearing much of the time.  Pressing onward, here's Vintage Spin:

I found this large print fabric in the totes, which is just quirky enough to become the major part of the backing for this quilt, I hope!  

This is surely a vintage fabric, thin but still sturdy enough for a backing.  It measures 38 inches wide.  There is only a little over 1-1/2 yards so will need to be bordered.  I'd love to know more about this fabric's origin and age if anyone out there has any ideas.  Here's another photo with the selvedge label.  I tried googling the name but only came up with totally irrelevant responses.

I'll close for now, hopefully back soon.  Keep smiling, keep stitching, and enjoy the rest of our summer months!  The temperature dropped to 44 degrees early this morning, a rather ominous sign for the first week of August!

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Playing Catch-up - quilt finishes and around the farm

 Once again, I've fallen out of the habit of posting a couple times a month.  Not because I've given up quilting, not a chance!  Time, being what it is, seems to become more fleeting the older we get.  Anyhow, here's a quick catch-up on what I've been working on.

First up are a couple quilts that will be going to the camp auction over Labor Day.  I can't take credit for either of these, though I've worked on them,  as both tops were donated to our ministry by Nann of With Strings Attached.  

This one was machine quilted and bound by yours truly.  It's a nice queen coverlet size.

A close-up - hopefully you can see a bit of the quilting:

The second top is Nann's rendition of a Bonnie Hunter mystery pattern called Rhododendron Trail.  Isn't it just beautiful!  A local long-arm quilter donated her services for this one, I just provided the batting, backing fabric and bound it.  

This one will fit either a queen or king bed.   A close-up:

I finished another quilt destined for the ministry.  Not sure yet if it will go to the auction, though at the moment I'm thinking we will save it for a local need over the winter months when there always seem to be displaced families due to house fires.  I showed the completed top in an earlier post.  I quilted in the  ditch along the blue horizontal sashings and did loopy meanders over the individual blocks.  A preschooler quilt, large enough for a toddler or bunk bed.  Lots of fun I-spy blocks in this one.

We learned a while ago that we will be great-grandparents in mid-October, and I recently started on a baby quilt for the little one - a girl(!).  I have no illusions about this baby quilt becoming an heirloom, especially since the young couple already has two german shepherds in their small home!  So, simple and quick is the mantra of the day.  The top was completed this evening.  A pieced backing to come, mostly pink and yellow, with a lot less blue than the top.

Did I say this baby is a girl!  All the grandparents are so excited as we do not have many girl children in this family!  Of our nine grands, only two are girls, so this is a great start for the newest generation.

At our recent quilt ministry meetings I've begun cutting and piecing stars that hopefully will eventually become a camp auction donation for next year.  No idea just yet what the eventual pattern will be though I've wanted to make a strippy quilt for some time and have a couple inspiration quilts bookmarked.  We'll just see what happens in the next few months.

On the home front, we finally have the vegetable garden almost all planted.  Very late due to some unseasonably late freezes that decimated all our fruit trees.  Many local folks who planted at the usual time lost a lot of their crops.  The local Amish farms that sell strawberries are reporting a very short and sparse season.  I'm thankful our blueberries bloomed late and we seem to have a good crop coming along.  Our perennial flowers are late too, some of the peonies are just now opening, all but one of the irises were killed off in the late freezes, the red poppies are finally in bloom (they're usually blooming for Memorial Day) and so on.  I took a little walk about yesterday and snapped a few photos.

There is a row of these beauties along the south side of the garage this year - volunteers as far as we can tell because neither of us can recall planting them there!  These poppies have a habit of coming up far from where their seeds were sown the previous year!  We're always delighted to see them wherever they pop up though.
The latest peony so far - and my favorite.

Poppies by the front porch.  The eastern phoebe couple has decided to honor us again this year by building their nest atop the porch posts - yes - posts!  Mama rejected last year's nest earlier this spring and built a new nest on the post that hadn't had a nest in all the years we've been here.  After her five fledglings left that nest early last week, a couple days later mama bird was back rebuilding last year's nest on the opposite post and is now setting her second brood for the year.  They are such fun to watch right outside our living room window, and so diligent in feeding their babies all the insects we're happy to have gone from the yard.  

A quick peek at a couple of the hanging baskets on our covered back porch - my favorite place for mid-morning lattes and sometimes lunch.  I love this first begonia's two-tone flowers, and hope I can successfully root some leaf cuttings soon.

We also made up a couple of our own baskets using small nursery plants and hoping they would fill out nicely as summer progresses.  This next one is my favorite.

I guess that's probably more than enough for one night!   Thanks for reading, and happy stitching!

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

April's Final Finish

 The old saying "a day late and a dollar short" might just apply here, as it's already the 3rd of May and I'm just now getting a chance to post April's final finish.  Though, since I didn't make the top, it probably should be called a half-finish!

The top was donated to our quilt ministry by Nann of With Strings Attached.  This photo is right after the binding was added, before washing to remove the stencil markings.  The quilting is a bit easier to see in these two photos.

Early evening photos in the sunlight, on the last sunny day we've had in quite awhile.

I think this quilt will be donated to the camp auction that takes place over Labor Day weekend.  It's a great size, just right for afternoon naps in a favorite recliner.  I love the bright bold colors Nann used!

I learned something important when washing this quilt.  As usual, after using Crayola washable markers to mark the stencils, I used a cold water rinse and spin cycle to make sure the marks were gone before adding any soap to the wash cycle.  One of the yellow fabrics refused to release the marker color.  After several more rinses, I finally put the quilt into the bathtub with warm water and Blue Dawn dish soap.  Just like magic, the marks disappeared.  Very thankful!

There are two more donation quilts to finish and then I can hopefully return to some of my own projects.  Looking forward to that!

After several days of cold rainy weather intermixed with wet snow and hail, we're hoping for a weekend filled with sunshine.  Hopefully no more hard frosts as the pear trees are blooming and the apple and cherry trees are close, as well as the blueberries.  Some years I've had the little round table out on the porch already because it was warm enough to have mid-morning lattes out there. Not this year, at least not yet.  

Til next time, happy stitching!

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Still Slogging Along but Two Finishes to Show for my Efforts!

Hello friends!  Hope this finds you enjoying some sunny spring weather abounding with daffodils and maybe even a few tulips.  After five days of 80+ degree weather last week, we returned to winter earlier this week with snow and cold winds for a couple days.  Not much accumulation, thankfully, and we're back to sunny skies this afternoon with promises of 70 degrees for the next few days.  

Since we last visited, I managed to finish both donation quilts mentioned in last month's post.  Here is the quilt for the mom.  I found a collection of two panels plus 9 half-yard pieces for this top.  As per usual all the panel pieces were skewed and a bit of a frustration getting things to fit together, but I'm liking the end result.  Decided to go outside for a few photos.

As the skies cleared it became windy.

Yep, probably time to take it back inside.

This quilt didn't start with any particular plan, just grew and adjustments made as I ran out of some of the half-yard pieces - you know - the really good background fabrics!

Once the central portion was finished, the length was woefully short, and considering what was left over, I raided my scrap bins to come up with a few additional fabrics to create the strippy top and bottom borders.  I think it turned out OK, the overall look is soft and inviting, and the recipient's favorite color is lavender.  

I used one of my favorite go-to free motion designs for the quilting, the meandering leaf motif echoes the tiny leaf pattern in the green fabric.

A peek at the back.

The son's smaller quilt went pretty much without a hitch.  After ditch quilting the major seams, I just did a loopy-balloon-circular motif across the main body of the quilt and called it done and dusted.

I found the extra panel pieces in one of the quilt ministry bins and used that on the back.  

This young man really loves dogs; I hope he also likes ducks and geese and chipmunks!

I marked some stencils on the bright citrusy quilt and hope to get the quilting completed on that by the end of next week.  If that happens I might even squeeze in a second post. Nothing is certain around here anymore, we just take one day at a time and keep on keeping-on!

Til next time my friends, keep stitching and praying for sanity and peace to return to this troubled land.