Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Westering Women Block 2

The second block of Barbara Brackman's Westering Women quilt-along was posted this morning, here.   This month's block is named Indian, representing the crossing over into Indian territory by westward settlers.

Today was as good a day as any to get this block finished and keep up with the series.  The basket of scraps and fat quarters I'd gathered for this project came out.

I made my block this afternoon.  A nice easy one.

Blocks 1 and 2 for this series.

I'm already looking forward to next month's block.  It's tempting to make another set of blocks using a more modern palette.  We'll see if that idea goes anywhere.

Monday, February 15, 2016

One Hundred Days and Counting

One hundred days since November 9, when I began this sweet madness of stitching circles to little squares, one a day, for a year or so.  And today marks a celebration of sorts, the 100th Quilty 365 circle.

Circles have taken over my life it seems, and now they've even begun to take over my other quilts. The first little alternate block for the Oregon Memories quilt

the second, much larger block

and the latest, not yet completed

Where will it all end?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

In the Hoop

So I got the king-size behemeth spread out on the floor and pin-basted yesterday morning. It actually went better than I had expected...notwithstanding the sore knees and shoulders today!  Only took about two hours to pin after all the layers were smoothed out.
All pinned

The nasty looking ripples in the pink border looked a lot less forbidding after being pinned into some form of submission, and I expect think hope will quilt out nicely.  This vintage top came from the same Ohio Mennonite estate sale as the Blockade quilt completed in December.
The backing fabric came from the bargain basement of a local quilt shop in Oregon a few years back, luckily just enough to back the entire quilt.

The top came to me with all the sashings and borders already lightly pencil marked for quilting.  The appliqued/embroidered blocks are also marked in blue ink, part of the original block pattern.  I suspect they may have been meant to be embroidered.  After all these years I'm not sure those blue markings will come out completely so I decided to use big stitch quilting and try to cover as much of the blue as possible with the green Presencia No. 8 pearl cotton. This is what it looked like after a little while quilting last evening.

No expectations about finishing this one very soon, in fact it will probably come out of the hoop several times as higher priority projects are ready ... or as I get bored with this one. Except for the green pearl cotton big stitch quilting in the blocks the remainder will be done with regular old-fashioned white thread quilting to outline the appliques and in the sashings and borders.  But it is nice to have a project back in the floor hoop again.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Moving Forward at Last, and a New Top

So, I completed all fifteen "canning label blocks" on my husband's Oregon memories quilt last week, and got stalled right there.  Those alternating blocks are giving me fits and starts in the planning. Way too many odd measurements to work out, more math than my sleep-deprived brain could tolerate for a couple days. What to do, well what happened is those fabrics were pushed to the back of the work table and I got started on this simple and quick baby quilt top.
Started and finished in fact in just a few hours over two days, and I'm happy with how it has turned out.  Again, all scraps from previous quilts or grab bags picked up at yard sales and just one fabric from my purchased stash.  Happy scrappy stitching!

A closer look

This quilt will eventually be gifted to a young member of our congregation who is expecting a girl in early summer, after a series of miscarriages. She has three older boys and is beyond excited about this coming arrival. I'll machine quilt it later in the spring after making a final decision about backing fabric and whether to add a small outer border to the top. Right now I'm thinking no border; what are your thoughts?  The top now measures 36 x 42 inches.

A few favorite blocks:

So this afternoon I've begun cutting a few tentative blocks for the Oregon quilt, and getting backing and batting ready to sandwich my largest quilt top to date, a vintage applique/embroidered top purchased online a few years ago that measures 91 x 113 inches! Yikes, there is no floor space in our house large enough to lay out the entire top and have room around the edges to work on it! Challenge of the week, stay tuned. Hopefully there will be something to show before too many more days (besides sore knees).

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

It All Begins with This

A germ of an idea, and a perchance internet sighting of the perfect focus fabric while checking store hours on the website while traveling to the last quilt shop of our Oregon coast personal shop-hop last fall ... in Astoria ...
a panel depicting salmon canning labels of the 1890s era from canneries along the Pacific coast, most of which are from old canneries at or near the mouth of the mighty Columbia River.

So, how did this become my inspiration fabric for my newest quilt-in-the-making?  Many years ago right after graduating high school, my husband packed all his belongings and his cat into an old Ford van and headed to Oregon.  His destination was Astoria, near the coast and where he attended Clatsop Community College while also working at the OSU Seafood Lab.  After all these years Astoria and the surrounding area remains his favorite place on earth.  So, when we traveled back to Oregon on vacation last fall he suggested we visit all the quilt shops we ran across while driving the coast from Port Orford to Astoria.  How could we not?  I started picking up random fat quarters of coastal themed fabrics with no particular idea in mind except that they might eventually become part of a lap quilt for him.    Then we found our inspiration fabric - perfect theme - perfect dark colors that he favors - and the focal point of his new quilt.

The first couple of blocks:

Nearly every fabric in this top (so far) is from pieces we picked up while in Oregon last fall, with just a couple from my older stash that have Oregon connections.  The massive jetty rocks, forest ferns, conifer Coastal Range forests, ocean swells, beach grasses, sand dollars, and doggie footprints (our old dog made the long trip with us) all make an appearance in the blocks.

Cutting the panel into useable block centers did present its issues as the fabric was printed totally askew, and there was no possible way of cutting even rectangles since not only were the outer borders off-grain but some of the actual labels were printed with a bend so the left side of the label angles upward. You can see the upward bend in the labels at the lower left of the first photo in this post. Frustrating, and noticeable on individual blocks, but hopefully with the variety of fabrics being used once the entire quilt is put together, sandwiched and quilted, the imperfections won't be terribly obvious. Faults aside, I am loving the deep rich colors of these quilt blocks. Twelve of the fifteen canning label blocks are completed and the rest should be finished today. Then comes the fun of creating alternate blocks!  I can't think of a better way to spend a stormy February day.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Quilty 365 - February Linkup

It's time to link up again with Audrey's Quilty 365 sew-along.  This little challenge - appliqueing one circle to a square every day - has become very, very addicting.  It's a time I look forward to every day, generally after supper while watching the evening news.  Surprising how a little ritual like this can do so much to calm the mind and bring a few moments of serenity.

My January "calendar" of circles.

A total of 84 circles since beginning this project on November 9

They had pretty much taken over the design wall!  But since the last photo I've taken down the first three months of circles to make room for a couple new piecing projects.  Still have a few setting options I'm mulling over for the final circles but nothing has gelled in my mind just yet.  

A few favorites from January's stitching.
Peacock feathers courtesy of  my blogging friendTeresa at A Quilt and a Prayer

A couple from a "flower series" .. reminding myself that spring will come

You can see what others are creating over at the Quilty 365 Linkup with Audrey at Quilty Folk.  You can even join in the slow-paced action ... there's no official start or ending date, just jump right in if you want to add a little quiet time each day to enjoy this fun quilt-along.