Wednesday, October 6, 2021

One Down and Three to Go!

 "Lady Sings the Blues" is now in the finished column!   This is the quilt slated for gifting to a birthday girl in late November.  So happy to have it completed!

I've been waiting for a nice sunny day to photograph it properly, and it looked like the skies were finally clearing mid-morning.  Though by the time I gathered up the quilt, clothes pins and camera, the skies were again cloudy, which has been our pattern of late.  When it isn't raining that is.  But still, it turned out to be a pretty good day for photographs.

A lot of stencils were used in this quilt for the free motion portion.  All marked with Crayola Ultra-Washable markers, which I've never had an issue with, until this quilt.  After it's first pre-wash bath in plain cold water I took it out to be sure the markings were removed and was horrified to find pink bleeding on the tannish backgrounds of several of the basket blocks.  And this was supposed to be a gift quilt!  The blocks with the creamier background fabric shed the marker with no problem.  Another rinse, the pink remained although slightly lighter.  A third wash with Synthrapol and warm water removed nearly all of the pink leaving only the faintest hint that probably no one else would even notice, but since I knew it was still there ... sigh.  The only thing that comes to mind is that my friend who gave me the pieced blocks (her rejects after making a quilt of the same kit fabrics) never prewashes her fabrics. Perhaps the finish on that one fabric held the color from the washable markers, though I don't know for a fact.  Anyhow, a fourth clear water rinse/dry after the outside photography seems to have removed the remaining pink, for which I'm really thankful!

I hand quilted the baskets with Aurifil 12 wt. thread, while the remainder of the quilt was machine quilted with Aurfil 50 wt.  I like the hand quilted details, plus dreaded forcing the machine to quilt into the multiple layers of all those hst seams, and figured the hand quilting "might" go faster with less angst.

The back:

And the so-called "beauty shots"

Our fall colors are slow to appear and seem much more muted this year, though time will tell when this area finally reaches "peak colors."  So a couple of the porch mums were pressed into service.

And here's our Sammy, now one year old, who accompanied me throughout.  He's such a character, into everything and just as sweet as he can be.  

Hide and seek -

Hope all is well in your world.  Now back to quilting!

p.s.  I'm having issues with comments either coming to my email twice, or in some cases not at all. Please forgive me if you don't receive a response in your email.  Maybe blogger will eventually get it right, or maybe go back to a system that actually worked.  Not holding my breath though.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Playing Blogging Catch-up

Seems the calendar marches along way faster than I can keep up anymore! Now that fall is officially here I'm hoping to spend more time in the sewing room once again.  Our trees and the underbrush are just beginning to show signs of color, so we're finding the best color right on our back porch, floppy headed sunflowers and late zinnias.

Lately, I've been feeling the need to finish up some long term projects and "clear the decks" so to speak.  Trying really hard to resist the lure of any new squirrel invasions and fabric purchases, but then Gladi just blogged about a new Julie Paschkis Christmas fabric collection and we all know what's about to happen -sigh!  My granddaughter hasn't had a new quilt in several years, and this would be so perfect for her! And if you've ever perused my finished quilts over the years, you know I can hardly resist Julie Paschkis fabrics.

So, back to my plans for the remainder of this year.  They are to finish four large quilts, two of which are hand quilted!  Here's where we are with each at this point:

We all remember Audrey's Quilty 365 challenge, way back in 2015 (I think?)  This may be the last holdout in the world of completed Quilty 365s!  Adding all that sashing and then outer borders made this monster somewhere in the neighborhood of 114x118 inches!  It's slated to become a to-the-floor bedspread for my bed, if only I can get it finished that is!  Trying to spend at least an hour or two every day on it, and it is progressing, however slowly.  I think it's getting close to being about 75% completed at this point.  I long-since abandoned the idea of hand quilting the outer borders since they will sit near the floor, and they will be simply machine quilted.

Secondly, Lady Sings the Blues - this will be a birthday gift so needs completion by the end of November.  Mostly machine quilted on the Janome, but I'm hand quilting the individual baskets.  I love mixing quilting styles, and trying to add hand quilted touches to many of the quilts slated for machine quilting.  Hoping to have this one finished later this week.

Next up is my Diamond Jubilee quilt, now resting for a few days while the aforementioned baskets occupy my hand quilting hoop.   At this point ten of the thirteen sunflowers are quilted, along with a LOT of the flying geese.  This has been a relaxing evening project, and I'm loving hand quilting through the Hobbs Heirloom wool batting.  

I'm planning to add more quilting in the sunflower background fabrics, as in the green/red block below.  Will need to take this to quilt ministry next week to get the stencils drawn on each block.  So much easier to mark and pin quilts on the tables we raise on bed risers than to break my back trying to do that chore at home.

As I'm hand quilting and looking at my stitches, I recall a blog post some time ago, I think it was from Barbara Brackman on one of her blogs, where she said a quilt looked "as if it was stitched with an aging hand."  Yeah, I can identify with that, and that's what this quilt will be named when I get around to a label "Stitched with an Aging Hand."  Perfect!

And just because I'm itching to do some machine work, this is the fourth quilt slated for a hopefully quick finish.
Shown here as the nearly completed flimsy, it's now under the Janome's needle.  This one I'm planning triple lines of walking foot stitching within each of the triangles, nothing fancy.  This will probably end up with one of the grandkids at some point although I am loving it, so maybe not right away.

Then, there's this project I've been working on at quilt ministry for the past few weeks. Now at home clinging desperately to the design wall as I try to come up with a final arrangement for the blocks.
Those blocks in the left column are taped and pinned in an attempt to see what's happening.  And this is not the final layout.  The off-center layout isn't pleasing to my eye in this instance so I'm planning to move things around to a more symmetrical arrangement.  No hurry with this one, at least until the design wall is needed for something new.  And it always is needed for something new, isn't it?!

My evening companion as I sit in my recliner and hand quilt (or try to, lol!)

Sammy celebrated his first birthday this past week.  Based on his age when he wandered into our barn, he was born around the middle of September last year.  Now he's a big boy at 10.3 pounds, full of mischief and fun, and keeps Gibbs on his toes.  They get along wonderfully most of the time, at least until Sammy has enough roughhousing and wants to go outside to hunt grasshoppers or nap on the porch chairs.

Though I really wasn't out squirrel-hunting, a few weeks ago Nann at With Strings Attached offered up a couple of completed quilt tops she had found at her church's rummage sale.  Thinking ahead to next year's church camp auction, I added my name to the giveaway and she sent these two gorgeous tops. thanks Nann!

This lovely queen size (86x86) top is beautifully sewn with machine embroidered/appliqued flowers, and is the type of traditional style that always sells well at the auction.  
After a lot of searching online I did find a wide backing fabric with suitable soft colors, though more modern appearing, for this top.  Looking forward to quilting this one sometime after the new year.

The second is much smaller, wall hanging size, and equally expertly sewn and machine embroidered. I sure hope I can do justice to both tops.  They will be donated to next year's camp auction.

A closer look at one of the embroidered embellishments:

With all this going on there's no mini quilt made this month, but hopefully when the "big four" are finished I can get back into the routine.  In the meantime, I hope to have some colorful fall photos in my next post.  Fall is progressing in fits and starts it seems.  A couple weeks ago we saw no hummingbirds at the feeder for over a week, thought they had departed on their southward migration, but thankfully left the feeder out for any stragglers.  The past few days we've seen a couple again, though not as frequently as during the summer months.

The Only winter squash we harvested from our garden!  This has been a terrible growing year, and it seems many of the seeds we purchased that did germinate either produced nothing at all, or sent out something totally unrelated to the package label.  Very discouraging, but we're fortunate to have a large farm stand in a rural crossroads hamlet a few miles north of our nearest shopping center that has fabulous prices.  We filled the van a couple weeks ago and plan a return trip tomorrow for more squash and apples and whatever else we can find.  The winter squash sell for 2 for $1, and the spaghetti and butternut squashes are huge, each one yielding at least 6-8 servings.  Thankfully we both love squash!

If you're still with me, thanks for reading!  Happy Stitching!

Friday, August 27, 2021

It's Friday and there's a Finish!

 After finishing the baby quilt earlier this month and perusing the bulging closet and general chaos surrounding me, I decided the next big thing needing tackling is the quilt tops awaiting machine quilting. Not to mention the two bed-size hand-quilting projects still currently underway.  So, the "needing machine quilting" tally was 3 bed size and one toddler/young child size quilt.  Then there's another bed size top approaching completion at quilt ministry.  And all the "wanna do" projects list that keeps growing!  I'd really rather start a few new piecing projects than endure the tedium of machine quilting, don't you know!

That said, my nose to the grindstone for the past couple weeks, I finally finished the oldest and largest of the list, the "Lines and Boxes II" quilt, which is nearly a clone of the one finished around three years ago for donation to the annual camp auction.  This is the latest one, which will stay with us as an additional winter quilt when the snow flies.  Shown here on the guest room queen size bed.  It finished at 86x96 inches.  

Quilting this one was more than a tad tedious and hard on the wrists, as it is quilted entirely with diagonal lines, stitched in the ditch on every stinkin' seam!  Or as close to the ditch as my eyes and coordination allowed, lol.

A lot of wonderfully scrappy pieces went into the making of these quilts, both from a few generous donations and my own stash.  My hubby loves the colors and so this will be "his" quilt. 

It has been way too hot and steamy for outside photos, with intermittent thunderstorms and wet ground, so all photos were indoors before the first wash/dry which is happening as I write this. 

Wishing you all a good weekend, and for those in the path of Ida, please be safe!  Til next time, happy stitching!

Monday, August 2, 2021

An Early August Finish

 Another baby quilt finished yesterday.  This one will go to our young neighbors who are expecting a girl next month.  Much happier with this one now that it's quilted with the binding added.  It never ceases to amaze me how the character of a quilt changes with the quilting texture.  Here it is immediately after the binding was added, before its beauty bath with the stencil markings still visible. I've become a huge fan of continuous line stencils for much of my FMQ, especially in sashings and borders, much easier to see what's going on and where to head next.  

No rain today, so we went outside for a few more photos.  

Tried a photo with both the quilt and this gorgeous hydrangea but the bright sunlight washed out the quilt colors.  

In the shade of the maple tree in the front yard. 

And the purple polkadot back, the free motion quilting in the panel squares is more easily visible in these next photos. 

We wandered a bit more before going back inside to prep this morning's blueberry harvest for the freezer.  A few blooming things:

The dog days of August, lol!

And one last photo of the baby quilt across the thrift store rocking chair I found last winter, it reminded me of a photo of myself in a similar chair at my grandparents' farm when I was a toddler.  I painted this one white to more closely resemble the original.
A long time ago:

Have a great day, and don't let the doomsayers destroy your joy!

Monday, July 26, 2021

The End of July - Already??

This month has gone by in a blur, and August will no doubt be the same, with a hopeful harvest of tomatoes, garlic and at least some squash, and more blueberries.  This has been a tough summer for gardeners in these parts with incessant rain for much of the month, flooding, hail damage, etc.

My quilting mojo has been at a low ebb of late, but I did manage one small finish and two more baby/young child quilt tops pieced.  

In the finished department, a baby boy quilt for our quilt ministry, already on its way to its destination, a newborn who is battling several physical issues in the NICU of a nearby city hospital.

Backed with a Peter Rabbit print.

Quick and simple ditch and serpentine machine quilting.
This baby quilt is my 'mini' quilt for the month, since there hasn't been time to create a true mini.

The second project is a baby quilt for our neighbor who is expecting a baby girl sometime in September.  I neglected to take photos when it was in the planning/piecing stage, here it is layered and pin basted, the ditch quilting was started this afternoon.

The soft pinks were difficult for me to photograph accurately especially with the light from the windows.  I had 8 or 9 pinks in my stash, mostly some old-fashioned prints, that I'd thought would work for this one, though they seem to wash out more than I'd like compared with the brights in the panels.  I'm planning on using more of the purple/pink shot cotton for the binding to I hope contain the paleness and keep the whole from fading into nothingness.  Hopefully the dimension added by the quilting will also help.

At the other end of the color spectrum, I was roped into asked if I could make a quick child's quilt last week.  A search of the stash revealed an older circus themed panel  that just begged for some colorful action!  Starting the design process:

And three days later, voila - finished top!  So glad I spent a couple mornings at quilt ministry last spring sewing together all those little leftover HST's from a camp donation quilt of around three years ago.  Perfect for this project!  And there are still more in their swiffer box in the parts department awaiting another project.  The completed top:

Better yet, turns out the quilt is not needed at the moment, so I can enjoy it for awhile until its turn for quilting comes along.  I will say that I am well and truly pleased with this one, it's even better in person than the photos.  And since it's no longer a rush job, hopefully I'll find a great backing fabric for it too.  Though the one from the stash would work just fine, it's just not what I'd like to find for this joyful quilt top.  And apparently it really wants to go to a mystery someone in the future.  It had best make up its mind soon, I think this one will be a difficult one to let go.

And on a closing note, guess who stole the first zucchini squash from the garden?