Monday, May 30, 2016

Cut 'n Run

So, exactly what have I been doing lately?  From the looks of the house and laundry baskets, not to mention the desk-top, it certainly hasn't been housework, laundry or ...

Cutting, cutting, cutting - border strips, squares, rectangles, triangles - at last count 822 individual pieces cut to complete the piecing on this quilt top.

That doesn't include the five appliqued blocks completed a few weeks ago.

Very thankful that the pieces aren't all tiny 1 or 1-1/2 squares!

And, our quilt ministry recently received a donation of a huge box of semi-pieced squares/rectangles/ trapezoid pieces of fabric that someone had undoubtedly started as a big donation project or perhaps quilts for her grandkids.  We'll never know, but she had pinned together sewn strips of squares into nine quilt tops and there was another large bag of miscellaneous pieces.  Our group immediately decided that we could help a few of the victims of the devastating wildfire in the Fort McMurray Alberta area by completing at least a few of these tops, doing simple ties and machine binding so that they could be sent off as soon as possible. And so, for the last three weeks several of us have been hard at work meeting a couple times a week to work on this project.  As of today, there are two quilts finished, another awaiting binding, and two more needing backings, layering, tied and bound.  We quickly discovered that the original sewist had cut her fabric pieces with scissors in "approximate" squares (and I use that term loosely), and we attempted to make the strips fit together without unsewing  the 1/2" seams and recutting what she had already sewn.   The resulting three quilts turned out OK, but everyone decided that we will bite the bullet and unsew and recut the remaining thousands of "squares" into standard size squares before we stitch up any more. This also gives us the advantage of playing around with some more creative color placement, 9-patch, 16 patch, etc., if they desire, not to mention practice with 1/4" seams, all of which will help our newbie quilters improve their basic skills.

These are the first two quilts that will be heading to Fort McMurray soon:
Single bed size

Large baby or toddler size quilt

Baby/toddler quilt's pieced back with central panel

If you or your quilt guild are interested in making quilts for some of the thousands of displaced residents of Fort McMurray, there is a Facebook group dedicated to that purpose, with addresses of where donations can be sent from the U.S.A. or Canada.   A link to this wonderful group of quilting angels can be found here.

So, between running back and forth to our quilting meetings and recutting hundreds more squares, not to mention getting the three gardens in over the past few days, there hasn't been much time for blogging.  But I know you all understand ... you're all doing much of the same!

Remembering Their Sacrifice

Honoring the memory of True American Heroes.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Hold the Presses ...

I was wondering what to blog about considering how little actual quilting has been accomplished on the home front, but then this:

An incredible gift today, from a new friend at our quilt ministry - a huge group of about 35 hand embroidered, hand-crocheted vintage runners and tablecloths, made by my friend's now deceased mother's neighbor's mother.  Trusting you can follow that genealogy - just suffice it to say since my friend and I are both 70, these pieces are probably at least that old!  Most are in excellent condition, some probably never used, others with just a bit of staining that will probably soak out.

The best part is, these were all created by a Polish immigrant woman from the same general neighborhood my grandparents lived when they were first married.  While some are made from store-bought embroidery patterns, many of the pieces are hand-drawn folk-art authentic Polish embroideries in traditional colors.  With all hand-crocheted lace borders on nearly every piece. Love!!!!!   So, without further ado, here are some of these new treasures.

I think this next one, the largest tablecloth, may also be the oldest, it has certainly seen the most wear, but the gorgeous heavy 4-inch wide lace is still in perfect condition.

Feeling very blessed today!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Quilty Happiness is ...

Reaching the halfway point on any large project.  I'm now past the halfway (day 183) mark in my Quilty 365 journey!   And the little block commemorating that milestone:

Finishing the applique work on the five 15-inch blocks in the Autumn Leaves quilt.  I'm not terribly fond of machine applique but my needle-turn skills still aren't sufficient to have hand appliqued those tight curves on the oak leaves successfully.   Where was that new Crafted Applique book when I really needed it, about six months ago?!

Finding a message in your inbox saying you've actually won a lovely giveaway!  More on this when it arrives in a few days.

News of a new grandbaby on the way - our hearts overflow!

Linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for her weekly Friday Whoop-Whoop!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Westering Women and Favorite Fabrics

Do you have a favorite piece of fabric, one of those that caught your eye in the quilt shop and never let go, to the point where you've had said fabric for years and yet it's so beautiful you can't bear to cut into it and use it?   Well, this is one of those pieces in my stash.
Fabric color is more true in the next photo

I'm pretty sure this fabric dates back to the mid 1990s; it's from a Smithsonian Institution RJR line called Little Sister's Quilt.  Here is a link to online information about the original quilt which dates to the 1850s-1860s.  The time period of the original quilt corrresponds to the westward movement and so it seemed very appropriate to (finally) use a bit of this fabric in my Westering Women quilt.

The Lone Elm is the block chosen by Barbara Brackman for April.  This is my version.
I'm pretty happy with this block, despite the fact that a couple of the triangle points will undoubtedly disappear when the blocks are stitched to sashing fabrics and the tree trunk is a bit lopsided.  Kind of like it was stitched while jostling on the back of the wagon along the Oregon Trail.  

Now that I see this gorgeous fabric come to life in a quilt block, I'll undoubtedly be wishing there was more than a yard of it in my stash!