Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Merrily we plod along ...

Progress is being made, for the moment, on piecing scrappy baskets for this as yet unnamed bed-size quilt. As of tonight, a grand total of eleven have been completed.  Here are the baskets made since my post last week:
They sure do look bright, don't they?  Partly due to my general ineptness at photo editing, though I have to admit this is about the point in any new quilt venture where I begin to have doubts - fabric selections, ability to put together pleasing combinations from the scrap bins, you name it.  Hmm, get over it and move forward, there are enough HST's cut to make at least twice as many blocks as needed, and there ought to be enough acceptable ones to pull together into one queen size quilt!  Next batch, I'll photograph them on the setting triangles fabric and we'll see if that tones them down a bit, or not.
Anyway, here are a couple of my favorites from the current batch, a few lopped off points notwithstanding. I subscribe to the galloping pony test, and my pony is fast out of the gate and never looks back, lol!

Tomorrow my quilting space will need to be packed up and the rolling carts containing rotary cutters and other sharp objects removed to our bedroom.  My son and DIL and the three youngest grands will be here for the long weekend, and the two oldest (ages 6 and 4) will be sleeping in the quilting room. The toddler will sleep in the guest room with his parents, but in his waking hours he's faster than a speeding bullet - always a challenge to toddler-proof a house!  It's going to be a fun weekend of the very best kind, and hopefully our seemingly never-ending rainy spell will be over with the new month.  Hoping the raging creek behind the house recedes enough from today's thunderstorms that the grandkids can do some proper fossil-hunting, wading, make lizard traps and other fun stuff.  After the grandkids depart my daughter, her boyfriend and their two rambunctious dogs will descend upon us for a couple days, so it will be awhile before these fun little blocks can be pulled out again.

Wishing you all a safe and happy 4th of July with friends and loved ones - the best kind of celebration!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Campfire Memories is officially finished, right down to the label added just before supper last night!
This was such a fun quilt to put together, so much scrappy goodness here, bringing back memories of nearly every quilt I've made over the past twenty or so years, blog giveaway winnings, yard-sale finds, plus other bits of fabric that found their way into the stash totes along the way.
Tried a few shots outside but the colors were a bit way too washed out in the late evening light and beyond my photoshop skills to bring back.  I'd planned to try again this morning but it's a chilly 48 degrees with heavy dew on the fields so we're going with my indoor shots from last evening.
A close-up of the quilting, all stitched on the Janome Horizon using the even-feed foot. Seemed to take forever with all the starts/stops in every corner to change direction, but I do love the star-effect in the sashings.  Each of the 4 inch string blocks was quilted in the ditch along the outer edge of the blocks, then the X patterns were quilted in each of the sashings and corner blocks.  The quilting may be a bit more visible in this next photo of the back.
Just enough quilting to hold the layers together but not lose that soft cuddly feeling when wrapping up in this one, which I plan to do - a lot - there's another New York winter coming in a few months after all!

I had originally planned on using Hobbs Polydown batting for this quilt, but grandson #2 was here while I was putting the top together, and asked me who the quilt was for.  When I told him it was staying at our house (for now) and it was called Campfire Memories, he immediately responded "so when we have campfires down by the creek in the summer I can take it out and stay warm with it." Umm, not if you want to live a long and happy life buddy!  Well.  That put an end to the thought of poly batting for this one.  Just in case someone does sneak it out of the house and next to a campfire, we went with Hobbs 80/20 cotton batting.  Just seemed like it would be a tiny bit safer.  Just in case.

The stats:  From a pattern in Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting magazine (July/August 2013) in which Marianne Fons based her quilt on an antique quilt she had seen; finished size 86x63 inches; string blocks pieced on Casey Jones, my go-to, all-time favorite piecing machine, a vintage 1950s black Singer 301a; machine quilted on the Janome Horizon; Aurifil 50 wt. thread used throughout; Hobbs 80/20 cotton batting.

Today I'll need to knuckle-down and weed the veggie garden (again) and probably mow the lawn (sigh) though I'd really rather be prepping appliques for some evening sewing.  Maybe tomorrow ...

Sunday, June 21, 2015

New Beginnings and Closing In on a Finish

Cutting up fabrics into little triangles and squares makes me happy! This has been a great week! We've had a few rainy days lately, so after finally completing the machine quilting on Campfire Memories last weekend, the work/cutting/quilting table was pulled out of its corner behind the Janome and into the middle of the room, and the fabric totes came out of the closet.  Several hours of cutting later, this lovely batch of triangles, squares and rectangles are now (sort of) neatly stacked in their respective containers awaiting their turn under the machine
to become more of these:
Yes, I'm finally starting the basket quilt I'd planned as a NewFO project a couple years ago, but that had been on my quilt basket bucket list for more years than I can remember.  There are enough pieces cut to make more than one scrappy quilt, so I'll stitch up blocks until I run out of background and/or basket pieces, then start playing with putting them together.

The first quilt will be at least loosely based on this quilt from the Fons and Porter Fat Quarter Friendly book published in 2000.  Theirs is called French Country Strippy, and I loved the quilt since I first laid eyes on it.
I plan to change it up somewhat, possibly adding another strip of baskets to make it better fit our queen size bed, but will decide on that option after I have enough strips sewn together to lay out on the bed.  The basket blocks will be scrappier than the pattern, using a greater variety of fabrics from my stash rather than the yardage I had picked up a few years ago, that now looks way too bland with too little variation in value for what I had in mind for this quilt.   It feels so good to be working on a new project again!

On the slow-stitching side, I'm closing in on finishing up Campfire Memories, hand stitching the binding down on the final side, then just a few stray quilting threads to tie off and bury.  Hopefully the finish will coincide with a non-rainy day so I can get some photos to post later this week.  Still plugging along with the hand quilting on the Blockade quilt, trying to put in at least a few stitches every day.  Looking forward to getting down to the borders on this one, where I think the quilting will progress a bit more quickly.

We're heading out to the city later this morning to one of the daughter's where we'll celebrate Father's Day with some of the kids and grandkids.  Wishing you all a wonderful family-fun-filled weekend!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

More Quilts from the Genesee Valley QuiltFest

My last post featured some of the hand quilted entries at the QuiltFest.  There were several hundred other quilts in the show that were domestic or long-arm quilted.  Here are a few that I lingered over, including this first show-stopper, possibly my very favorite of all the machine quilted entries:

Spectacular quilting in the white blocks on this entry.

Another show-stopper, this was absolutely stunning.  Makes me want to try a one-block wonder.

We loved these panels.  The background color is washed out on some of my photos of these, the background is a fairly deep yellow on all of the panels.

A Judge's Choice winner:  

Wasn't able to stand far enough back to capture the entire quilt.  The softly gradated colors on this quilt were spectacular.

Someday I'd love to do a city-scape quilt picture.  I especially love the ancient middle-eastern and European city quilts I've seen.

It would have been fun to compare the original photograph with the artist's quilted rendition. She did an exceptional job capturing the era of the clothing in her fabric choices.

I hope you enjoyed this brief tour of the QuiltFest.  We really enjoyed this quilt show, one of the best we've attended.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Photos from the Genesee Valley QuiltFest

Over 600 quilts were on display at this weekend's QuiltFest, a fabulous show and the largest quilt show in New York run entirely by volunteers.  Since hand quilting is my first love, my post today highlights a few of the hand quilted items on exhibit, including some that have won national awards in previous years as well as some of the judged entries in this show and one or two vintage charmers. Warning - photo-heavy post!  The show was well attended and as the morning progressed, the crowds in some of the aisles prevented being able to stand back far enough to capture many of the quilts in their entirety and some of the photos are at odd angles, but the quilts were all spectacular.  These are just a few that especially called out to me.

The first quilt is a previous award winner.  The trapunto work in the feather quilting was gorgeous.

Another previous award winner.  I loved the Celtic knot applique border, not to mention the soft colors, reminiscent of a foggy morning.

A sweet vintage quilt.

This next funky vintage quilt just called out to me.  If I had money to burn and room in the house ...

A Judge's Choice award winner.

An heirloom baby quilt

My jaw dropped when I spotted this next quilt, created by fellow Celebrate Hand Quilting member Janet Atkins.  I never thought I'd have the opportunity to see this in person.  The tiniest of hand quilting stitches I've ever seen, and most deserving of the two awards it received at this show.

Another Judge's Choice winner.  I can't imagine hand appliqueing all those thousands of tiny, tiny circles and then hand quilting around each and every one!

And, lastly, here is the quilt that was awarded best of show:

I'm inspired!  I hope you enjoyed the eye-candy.  Next post will feature some of the machine quilted beauties from this show.   Hope you're enjoying a beautiful day!