Monday, January 15, 2018

What's Old is New

This past week has been one roller-coaster weather-wise, with near 60 degree days, a fast snowmelt followed by a couple inches of rain, flooding, then a huge temperature drop with freezing rain and around 10 inches of snow!  Definitely days to stay indoors by a warm sewing machine with a hot latte for this gal!  So, what have I accomplished while all the mayhem was going on outdoors?

Last fall my blogging friend Janet gifted our quilt ministry with a big box of scraps from a friend of hers who was destashing.  Included in the box were many small pieces, some fat quarters, and a few larger pieces ranging up to a yard in size.  Many, many small country and reproduction prints, some nearly vintage, in a variety of darker colors with a few lights/brights thrown in.  Perfect for a couple large scrappy quilt tops I thought. 

One of our ministry projects is the donation of several quilts to a nearby church camp supported by several local churches.  The auction is held Labor Day weekend, a busy time, right in the midst of canning season, so starting this year's big quilt now seemed like a good idea.  And that box of fabrics has been beckoning me to come and play for a couple months now!  Next came finding a suitable scrappy pattern to do those fabrics justice.  Searching through several magazines I spotted this photo.  I love the scrappiness of the larger quilt shown here!
photo from Quilt Sampler, Fall-Winter 2011

The featured quilt in the above photo is called Second Hand Clothes by Bonnie Blue Quilts. Studying it a bit more closely I discovered that it is essentially the same design as the antique quilt featured on the cover of this Barbara Brackman book, that was the inspiration for my camp auction donation quilt made last summer.

So interesting to compare the two, how varying the scale of the blocks, controlling the scrappiness, and a use of a constant background block in the antique version produced two very different looks. 

So, I'm going to make the same quilt as last year for the auction, and drafted a smaller size block to better fit the size of the donated fabric scraps.  This is such a fun and easy quilt to make, and since I'm up to my ears in HST's for two other ongoing projects at the moment, simple squares and rectangles look mighty enticing at the moment!  After several days of cutting up those scraps, I have enough pieces for two queen size tops all bagged up and ready to stitch.  I had to raid my stash for a few pieces to round out the light fabrics needed, but all of the mid and dark tones and some of the lights are from that lovely donated box.  And guess what? After all that cutting, that box is STILL nearly full!  The gift that keeps on giving - gotta love that!

And, this morning I finally had a chance to sit down and stitch a few of the puss in the corner blocks, and threw them up on the design wall to get an idea of how this is going to look. 
Yes!  This is going to be great fun!  The plan is to stitch a few blocks every day, between working on other projects, and hopefully have the top ready for quilting in a month ... or two ...   I'll wait until all the blocks are laid out before deciding on a color range for the setting triangles.

I've also had some evenings in the last couple weeks to dig out this project and make a few more of the little baskets.  They really are fun to hand stitch, well maybe except for that bit of reverse applique on the ones with the cut-out.  Hopefully I can keep a bit of momentum going on this project that had sat untouched since last January. 

And that's it from my little corner of the world. 

Friday, January 5, 2018

First Friday, First Finish

I finished up the fire victims' quilt late this afternoon, a great way to end the first week of the year! Here it is all washed and fluffed, and laid on the guest bed to finish drying.

For a quick quilt I'm happy with the way this one turned out, a mix of ditch and undulating stitch machine quilting, and the binding was attached by machine.  Hopefully it will be durable enough for the inevitable laundromat visits as these folks are in temporary housing for the time being.

A closer look, showing a bit of the quilting and back

Trying to spend some of each evening this week getting back into hand quilting again, plus a bit of needleturn applique.  Taking everything moderately as it seems the carpal tunnel issue is moving in with a vengeance.  I'm hoping as these bone-chilling days begin to moderate a bit that the wrist will also feel a little better.   Not looking forward to an enforced hiatus from my sanity time each day!

I hope you all are keeping warm and safe from the storms.  

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Year-end Wrapup 17 in 2017 or The Year of Distractions

Well, I only loosely followed along with the crowd doing the 17 in 2017 challenge, never really posting much about that scribbly little list I'd made. Looking back I think that was because it just didn't seem like much progress was being made on that list.  But early in the year it became apparent that 2017 was to be the year of distractions opportunity quilts - those made as a member of our little quilt ministry.  Now, the stats for that list are w-a-a-a-y more impressive! And, in these few days after Christmas I found myself once again working on a new opportunity quilt rather than getting back to one of the original 17 in 2017 projects!

So, a month or so ago I posted a partial mock-up of a bunch of scrappy HST's I'd been stitching at the quilting group, in an effort to encourage others to begin using up the mountains of scrappy pieces we have stored there. Originally planned to be another nursing home quilt, but a couple days before Christmas a family of 6 in a neighboring town lost their home and all their possessions in a fire.  Time to push this project in another direction. So, here's where we are tonight, scrappy HST's sewn together, borders added, backing fabric found in the stash, and now all layered and pinned, ready for a quick machine quilting and binding next week so we can get it delivered to the family asap.

The top:

and the back, I love this sweet pale green with all the bubbles.

So, where does that leave 17 in 2017?  I had 17 projects listed, seven are now finished, another 5 were inched forward, and absolutely nothing done on the remaining 5.   As for the reverse side of the list, the Opportunities definitely won out, with 9 projects listed, 8 of those are finished and the last one you've just seen in it's 'ready for quilting' state.

Still mulling over whether to join in the 2018 challenge, which actually sounds like it "could" be a bit easier, with six UFO's and six new projects.  What this year taught me is to never underestimate the power of the distraction to completely take over your carefully planned pursuits!  I think the biggest disappointment was not finishing even one hand quilted project, of which there are three ongoing, all either queen or king size.  Finishing at least one in 2018 will be one of my major goals for the year!

If you care to look, all of this year's finishes can be viewed under the "2015 and Later" tab at the top of the blog.

May your new year bring you good health, good friends, and an abundance of good quilting time!

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Last Holiday Finishes

Late last week I finished hand stitching the binding on the last of this year's hexie table toppers, most of which are slated as Christmas gifts.  They are all wrapped now, some already gifted, and one smaller one I'm planning on keeping, at least through this next weekend.  Unless another gift-giving opportunity pops up at the last minute that is!

Sad to say, there was no time to even dig the Christmas fabric bin out of the depths of the closet, so these were all made from scraps and stash that were more readily available when the initial inspiration struck.  Without further ado, the finishes:

I don't think the second finish was shared earlier, this one went to my daughter as a little housewarming gift:

Most of the latest batch:

And the last one ... of course I needed help keeping this one grounded!

And now, my Christmas wish for each of you is for a joyous holiday season and may the new year bring you much happiness, health, and peace in your heart, and of course an abundance of quilty fun!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A December Finish and Soft Packages

Late this afternoon the last stitch was put in the grandson's Christmas quilt - yay! So happy to have this one out of the way so other holiday preparations can begin.  So, without further ado, here are the finish photos, very hastily shot while our new four-legged friend was outside briefly. 

The front
The back

This was free motion quilted with a fairly large meander leaving the quilt nice and soft. I used a variegated thread in the bright border and then in the outer border repeated the variegated thread but used the even feed foot and my machine's serpentine stitch.
Finally found a great use for this variegated thread!

I was about finished photographing the back when in bounded this guy heading straight for the quilt (of course)!
The only in-focus shot of the whirling dirvish!

We're having to watch him like a hawk as he can find more stuff to get into the minute we look away.  Pretty much like having an inquisitive toddler in the house, but there's been a lot more laughter around here these last couple weeks so it's all good. We have decided that the Christmas tree will need to be a table-top one this year for obvious reasons!

In today's mail was one of those small squishy packages that we quilters so love to see, and this one was the result of having won a recent giveaway from Barbara Woods - this sweet gathering of fat quarters! Thank you so much Barbara!

Keeping those in the path of the raging fires in California as well as all the firefighters in our prayers tonight.  

The last major finish of 2017

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Post-Thanksgiving Rush

Just a quick update for those of you who read to the end of the last post and were left in suspense.  Cliffhanger is over - on Saturday we adopted Gibbs!

If we had adopted his sister, we would have a Ziva (our names).  As you can see it was a tough choice ... and they weren't making it any easier!

They are six months old and full of energy. I think the decision was made after we watched "Ziva" happen to look up and spot a ceiling fan and immediately launching herself skyward in an attempt to reach the pull chain! I think that amount of energy would doubtless put us over the top, though her brother is no slouch in the energy department either. We definitely have our work cut out for us!

Who, me?

Needless to say not much has been accomplished on the quilting front over the last few days. I did manage to cut the binding for the remaining hexi table toppers as well as the grandson's Christmas gift quilt, and began quilting said quilt, in a very large and somewhat weird looking meander. I was attempting to avoid stitching over people's faces in the panel, and my machine always hangs up on the seams if I've pieced the back of a quilt top. This only happens with the free motion foot, using the even feed foot for ditch or straight line quilting presents no issue.  At any rate, I doubt a 4-year-old will care much what the meanders look like as long as his beloved Star Wars heroes are on his quilt.
So, my goals for December are to finish this quilt and have it wrapped and under the tree when the family arrives on Christmas Eve. And, there are 4 or 5 hexie table toppers that need their binding sewn on as they are gifts for more distant family members. Then we'll concentrate on doing some training of our new furry toddler, wrapping gifts, and hopefully even getting a bit of holiday baking done ahead of time.  And a tree, there needs to be a tree with grandkids here! There are also 10 family members with birthdays in December and January! Busy, happy times.

From our little corner of the world to yours, wishing you a happy, and healthy week ahead!

p.s.  The kitchen and dining room are painted with everything put back in place just in time for the new arrival!  I'm awfully thankful to not be dealing with paint cans and trays this week!