Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April NewFO

Inside now after a couple hours in the 86 degree sunshine(!) working in the garden.  Have to say, it's a mighty fine way to end the month of April!   We now have spinach ready to harvest, along with broccoli and lettuce starts, the peas were planted yesterday, and the potatoes will no doubt be planted tomorrow morning.  Early, well before it hits the mid 80s again.

As I began quilting the little purple baby quilt for our church school benefit auction, I was made sadly aware that you (or I, at least) can't go five months with no FMQ practice and expect to get away with it! That little quilt ended up all straight-line quilted, partially FMQ and partly with the dual feed foot.  All in all, it didn't turn out badly, and I'm rather fond of the way the intersecting lines add another dimension to the quilt.

I'm excited to see what "The Little Ballerina" as this was dubbed in the auction bidder guide will bring on Saturday.  I may even buy it myself, to save for a grandbaby visit.  Here's a shot of the back, so you'll see why it is aptly named.

Sew, on to April's NewFO.   I had purchased several vintage (1960s-1990s range) Mennonite quilt tops last year, and one of them was a sampler of sorts of pieced blocks with some wide sashings and a huge border.  A rather nondescript and not well executed top with lopped off points, etc.  This lady, bless her heart, was not cut out for machine piecing, but her hand appliqued and embroidered kit quilts are fabulous.  Anyway, this 73x73 inch pieced top looked like a great opportunity to bone up on some FMQ and have a finished quilt to show for it.  As of this morning I have five of the nine blocks quilted.  Determined to have fun with this one, and not stressing about imperfections, I've been averaging about one block every day or two.  A couple of the completed blocks - the dark areas were wet, as I've been sponging off the blue washout marker as soon as each block is complete.
Our LQS had a big "after-remodeling" sale during April and had moved a lot of fabric bolts to their bargain basement.  I wasn't able to find yardage for the backing in a print of the era of the quilt top, so instead the backing is this gorgeous French General print that just happened to be in the sale room.  I think I'm going to love flipping this quilt over and displaying it as a comforter!

So, that's it for April.  At 5:30 the A/C kicked on - it was 77 in the house and 86 degrees outside.  What a way to end the month in (normally soggy) Oregon!

Linking up with Barbara at Cat Patches for her monthly NewFO linky party.  All you need to do to join in is post about a project you've started this month, and link up!  It's fun!  It's free! And, there's lots of eye-candy for the viewing.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Last time I showed the mostly completed flimsy of a baby quilt begun in March with members of our church's ladies group string-piecing colorful 4 1/2 inch blocks.  The group pieced 98 squares, enough to complete two baby quilts.   After adding sashing, we decided the design was busy enough that elaborate quilting would be overwhelmed, and decided to keep it simple, with stitch-in-the-ditch quilting and perhaps a bit of linear quilting in the sashings if time permitted.

At this point, I need to admit that I hadn't done any free motion quilting since early September, and sadly discovered that FMQ skills disappear WAY more rapidly than they are gained! I had hoped to add some free motion quilting to this, but without adequate time to practice some of the rusty skills, it looked like this was going to be a problem!  So, having decided that the linear quilting design was in order, after stitching each block in the ditch with the dual feed foot, a series of X's were free motion quilted in each of the sashings.  I had not attempted to FMQ straight lines other than brief practice in the past, but was happily surprised that as long as the lines aren't much more than 4-5 inches long, they are quite easily done.  So, white ceramic lead Sewline pencil and soap slivers in hand, the X design was marked out and quilted this past weekend, and this is the completed quilt.
I did go back to using the dual feed foot to quilt the outer sashings since they needed to be stitched so close to the edge, and that worked like a charm.  The four-pointed star and octagon designs that seem to emerge and then disappear between the blocks really add a nice dimension to this simple design.
The pattern is based on Marianne Fons' Rock Island Campfires quilt featured in the July/August 2013 issue of Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting magazine.  This one has Hobbs Polydown for the batting.

Ballerinas for the back!

My friend Sarah completed a second similar quilt, and here is a photo of both just before they were turned in to the school, to be sold during the annual school benefit auction on May 3.

Since completing the Checkered Past quilt, I've resumed hand quilting of the scrappy vintage bow-tie quilt found at a small local estate sale last summer.  While I'd love to have this completed by the end of April, it will more likely be toward the end of May before the quilting is finished and a binding added.  I'd love to find a yard or so of a nice vintage 1950s fabric for the binding, but wonder if it would be better with a plain muslin binding.  The back is a single width of a nice off-white or natural muslin that might be easier to match than finding 1950s fabric that would coordinate.  The white ground pieces on the front are a very loosely woven vintage fabric, perhaps from a sheet or tablecloth, very soft but too ravelly for use as a binding, even if I had extra.   What do you think?