Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Memories of Astoria - a November finish!

On a bit of a roll this month, though any remaining finishes for the rest of the year will be much smaller! Yesterday I put the last stitch in the binding and added a label on the quilt made for my husband, whose favorite place in the world is Astoria, Oregon.

Nearly all the fabrics for this quilt were found last fall in the little quilt shops that grace nearly every coastal town in the state; we started in Port Orford and traveled north all the way to Astoria along the Columbia River, where we found some gorgeous yardage depicting turn-of-the-20th century salmon canning labels.  So fitting since my husband worked at the OSU Seafood Lab in Astoria while a student at Clatsop Community College many years ago.   The colors in the canning labels are so rich and vibrant, my rather pathetic photo editing skills do not do them justice at all.  Yesterday's weather was also not cooperating for an outdoor photo shoot. Although the snow had stopped by mid-afternoon and we had some sun-breaks, the wind was gusting at 50-60 mph with a wind-chill of 12 degrees.  Not my cup of tea, no siree!

The canning label blocks were sashed with fabrics depicting Oregon - beach grass, the rock jetty at the mouth of the Columbia River, sand dollars, coastal mountain forests, ocean creatures and flora.

Most of the alternate blocks were banded with deep blue fabrics - ocean waves.

And, since Quilty 365 circles were always on my mind this year, it didn't take long to add another 28 or so in various sizes to this quilt!

I hand quilted this quite simply, about 1/8" from the ditch along nearly every seam, then outlined various features within each block.  My husband wanted cotton batting, the Hobbs 80/20 makes the quilt relatively flat and I'm happy with that look for this quilt since we wanted the fabric features to be the focal point, not the quilting.  Finished size is 56x65 inches, just about perfect for an afternoon nap on the couch.
The back - more beach grass.

I'm thankful to have this finished in time for Thanksgiving later this week!  Wishing you all a joyful week with family and friends.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Friday Finish

I've never considered myself to be especially superstitious, but this was the 13th quilt our little ministry group set out to make this year, for the son of one of our church members who is undergoing chemotherapy.  All I'll say is that this number 13 fought us every step of the way, but with the exception of sewing on the label this morning, it's finally finished!

The first top our group attempted for this 13th quilt turned into a fiasco that is now relegated to "teaching quilt" status, and the group went back to the basics with this very easy pattern, relearning the importance of consistent quarter-inch seams, pinning for accuracy, thread tension, etc.  Each person made one row of the top and this time the rows went together with only a few tiny issues. Borders were added, and the top laid flat on the floor for pinning.  All good so far. Then I brought it home for quilting and the headaches began.  I had planned to quilt fairly close organic straight lines on this one, but the top was having none of that, shifting badly with each successive pass! No matter if I alternated direction with each row of quilting or stitching successive lines from top to bottom. Rats! So, last weekend I spent several hours ripping out about 17 lines of stitching, repinned the entire top and began again. This time I ditch quilted and forgot about doing organic straight lines every inch or so. The top continued to shift, though not quite as badly, and it's now quilted just enough to keep the batting from shifting when the quilt is washed.
After adding a machine stitched binding yesterday, it was ready for an outdoor photo shoot just before sunset.
I added a line of free motion swirls and loops on the borders.  They're almost visible here in the late afternoon light.

Tomorrow this #13 will be given to the recipient's mother to be delivered to him over the holidays. And our little group of five has already begun working on two additional quilts for chemo patients in the local community.

With any luck there will be a personal finish to post before the end of the month.  In the meantime, wishing you all a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

And the last circle is made

My days of stitching little circles have ended, for now at least!  366 days later, here are the final eight.

It doesn't look very impressive for a year's worth of circles when they're piled up like this.

I've been leaning toward an on-point layout for assembling the quilt, and several months ago one of the participants showed her layout with a very narrow dark sashing framing each square.  Ever since we began this quilt-along I've pondered how I could incorporate this lovely burnt orange fabric into the project.  I hope you can see all the little overlapping circles in the photo below.

So, this is what has been simmering on the design wall for the past few days.
I still need to do a lot of the dreaded quilty math before strips are cut and the sashings are stitched. My preliminary calculations indicate that this layout will make a queen bedspread size quilt with circles left over.  They also indicate that I'll be a bit short on the burnt orange fabric!  So, this is all very tentative at the moment.  The one thing I do know is that I'll make a quilt of some size using this fabric - it just makes me smile every time I walk into the sewing room!

The fabric in question is by Moda, and is named Tranquility, by Sandy Gervais, Pattern #17398, and is from about 2008 or 2009.  I've had the fabric in my stash for a couple years, sent by another blogger who was downsizing her stash.   I've done an online search but haven't found any more out there, so if any of you happen to have a yard or even two languishing in your stash that you would like to part with and sell, please let me know!

This morning will be spent with my quilt ministry buddies, working on quilts 13-16 for the year!  Not bad for our little group of 5 regular members!  Then it's off to our little town hall to complete my civic duty and privilege and vote, the old-fashioned way, with paper and pencil though they do have a new-fangled machine that counts those carefully completed paper ballots.   The day dawned cold and clear, and promises to be a beautiful sunny November day, which I choose to take as a sign of hope after the many months of dark rumbling political storms we have all endured.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

October's Circles - Quilty 365

Nearing the finish line with only eight circles left to make in November - hooray!!  Election Day will mark the end of my Quilty 365 (or 366) circle-making marathon, then it's on to setting them together.
October's circles

I've pretty much decided that my circles will be set on point but still deciding whether to frame each square with a narrow sashing.

Last month I was hoping to find a fabric depicting an Australian Shepherd dog resembling our family dog, and ended up ordering a sample piece of a fabric from Spoonflower.  I'm quite pleased with this circle and think it depicts our Olie rather well.

Critters of all kinds abound in my October circles.

I think this is going to make a splendid I-Spy quilt for the guest room bed.  Though it became tedious at times, I'm happy that I persevered through an entire year and that so many others have as well! Linking up with Audrey who started it all ...