Monday, October 30, 2017

October Finishes - Yay, there are Some!

So happy to report that the Quilt for Which I (still) Have No Name is finished!  All bound, washed, and photographed for posterity, since it will soon become a Christmas gift for my son and DIL.  I'm quite sure they are not even aware of my blog much less read it, so I can show a few photos of this latest finish now.  My husband really likes this one and not-so-secretly is hoping they won't like it so he can keep it. I can guarantee that won't be happening, but the batik tote remains nearly full, so he can hope another one rolls off the finish line - someday.

While it was still having the binding stitched to the back, we had what appeared to be our last nice, warm and nearly sunny day for the fall, so the quilt was scooped up for an early morning outside session just as the sun began rising over the hilltop behind the house.

That proved to be a good decision since now that the quilt is completely bound and washed, our weather has turned absolutely awful, with over 3 inches of rain in the past 24 hours and several more inches expected, plus high winds, and the possibility of snow tomorrow here in the higher elevations of western New York.
Some photos taken inside after washing and drying:

After ditch quilting all the blocks, I quilted an all-over meandering leaf design except on the borders.  I do like the overall texture this design imparts without the quilt looking overly-quilted and becoming stiff.  I used my Janome 7700 for all the quilting, and Aurifil 50 wt. thread was used throughout. The batting is Hobbs 80/20 cotton/poly blend - my favorite for bed quilts.

I made a first attempt at Lori Kennedy's feathered leaf fmq design after watching her demonstrate it on a recent episode of Sewing with Nancy.  It looked like it would be fairly easy to do, and it was, once I had drawn lines to mark off the beginning and end of each unit. Although Lori's feathered leaves look way more relaxed and natural than mine!  Oh well, maybe the next attempt will be better?!

One last look at the completed quilt, laid out on the guest bed to finish drying.  The top measured 91 inches square before quilting.  The batting was pre-rinsed and dried on low heat in an effort to minimize shrinkage in the final quilt.  After quilting and washing, the quilt now measures about 88 inches square.

One more small finish for last week - the first of the hexie table toppers, very simply machine quilted with straight lines and bound, and already gifted over the weekend.

The second-youngest grandson recently turned 4 years old and I have yet to make him his big-boy bed quilt.  Pondering whether I can pull that off before Christmas.  Time will tell!  Happy Monday, and I hope the weather is better in your neck of the woods.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Hexies and Bow-ties

How many times we've heard the breezy statement "just enjoy the process" when it comes to creating a quilt.  Words that are generally muttered repeatedly while in the midst of a never-ending project involving thousands of tiny multi-cornered pieces requiring set-in seams, or attempting tiny hand quilting through the multiple layers of those same tiny pieces with multiple seam joins. Now, and this is just my opinion, if we are totally honest with ourselves and each other, we'll just come out and say that sometimes the "process" is just plain T.E.D.I.O.U.S, and the mantra that might better serve is "better finished than perfect"!

Having three projects of queen and king size either in hoops or under the machine for quilting, plus another ginormous king-size bundle leering at me from the corner where I shoved it months ago, had me wanting, no, needing a small, do-able, FUN project, and quick!

I'll admit it, I've never been a fan of hexies, don't want to own a hexie quilt,  and I sure don't want to make one!  But then along came Marie of QuiltBee with these table toppers she is making for a holiday sale, and I just couldn't resist trying "just one."  After all, these hexies are huge, and woo-hoo, no inset seams! 

So, I made one
First one now quilted and ready for stitching down binding

and then another

and before you know it, the pile grew like Topsy!

And I haven't even gotten to the autumn-themed fabric or Christmas holiday bins which was what I originally intended when beginning this new project!  These toppers were made from a pile of scraps and some fat quarters and left-over-from-other projects that were easily accessible.

Then, last week I gave our quilt ministry group a demonstration of how to cut the hexies, and the piecing process.  And got several of them hooked ...  One of whom is 90 years young, and is hand quilting a king-size top she had pieced over 20 years ago in her previous quilting life.  Yes, she was getting tired of dragging that thing to our weekly meetings, and this new project is perfect for her too!

I hope to get that first binding hand stitched down later today, for gift-giving this weekend when we visit an older couple who we haven't seen in nearly a year.  Then, the others I'll work on more slowly,  attempt some more elaborate quilting on a few of them, and plan most of them for Christmas gifts.  A big thanks to Marie for her help getting started down this new avenue!

In other quilt ministry news, I finished up eleven more bow-tie blocks this morning, enough to complete a lap size nursing home quilt.  Here's a mock-up of how those blocks may end up in the finished top.
Made from donated scrap fabrics of unknown vintage, bright and cheerful, as I think they should be for a person who spends his/her days in a wheelchair.  Now I just need to find a cheerful backing fabric and get this "opportunity" quilt finished in the next couple weeks.

Heavy winds and rain last night, and some of the nearby hills are bare of leaves, though neighboring hillsides are aglow in the golds and russets of the oak forests whose fall glory just emerged in the last few days.  My favorite season of the year, and all too short it seems.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Mug Rug Swap

Good Monday Morning!  Randy at Barrister's Block recently hosted a mug rug swap.  This is the first time I've participated in an online swap, and it turned out to be great fun, albeit with a bit of nervousness on my part. There's a first time for everything, right?

Anyway,  last week I received a little packet from Lori L. (no blog) that contained not one, but two sweet little mug rugs, and here they are!

Aren't they cute?!  I really love the details in each one.  The teacup now resides on my computer desk where my morning coffee sits while I catch up on blogs, the grandkids' antics, etc.

And this one is just fascinating, with great attention to detail and I especially love the way Lori quilted the diagonal lines through each tiny block. That line of quilting adds so much dimension and movement to the whole quilt. This one is currently in the living room on a small table next to the rocking chair where I sit while chatting with my hubby about the days' events as we have our mid-afternoon snack or after supper treats. 
Did you spot the tiny farm critters?

Thank you so much Lori!

And here is the one I made for my swap partner, Debby D.  She also has no blog, but we've communicated back and forth about the swap and quilting in general.  I'm so happy she likes it!  

I've wanted to do a pineapple block for ages, and this seemed the right time to try one. I finished it with a little hand quilting, and machine quilting in the borders since I was running out of time to get it in the mail.  I'd love to make a set of placemats using this block or perhaps a table runner for my daughter as a little housewarming gift as they prepare to move into their first home.

Thanks to Randy for hosting this fun little swap!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Palmateer Point, the sequel but not the finish

Since I was less than enthralled with my choice of fabrics for the hst's in this project, it was left to simmer on the design wall for a week, to no avail.  I still don't care for those glaring hst rows!  But I'm not doing any more unstitching on this project, so I went off in search of some border possibilities. Here's what it looked like originally:
A block without borders

A good rummage through a couple bins of scraps resulted in several possibilities, ranging from "hmm" to "ridiculous" but never reaching "sublime."  A few of those possibles:

Yikes! What WAS she thinking?!

I sure wasn't feeling the love for any of these, and had decided to just slap a backing on the original block, get it quilted and done.  There was this sweet older print in one bin, and I figured it would make a lovely back and I could always flip it to the reverse side when I tired of looking at the pink.

The little quilt and the fabric had other ideas however, and here's where we ended up after they decided to dance together.

I love the way the mellow golden yellow softens the glaring pink/white combination of the hst's a bit, and certainly makes the top more lovable at least in my eyes. And that's where this project stands right now. The top is 38x38 inches, a good table-topper size. It will go into the closet for a bit while I try to finish some other huge lingering projects before I decide how to quilt it.  

Friday, October 6, 2017

Palmateer Point Quilt-along, and week's happenings

It's been a really busy week around here, and I've loved every minute!  First of all, we had an overnight visit from Barbara and her husband Mike, all the way from Oregon.  We had a delightful time with them that was over all too soon, as they headed north and east with a coming weekend destination of the Maine coast, a place I'm eager to visit again.

And now we're in the midst of a five day visit from our youngest grandbaby, now nine months old, and his weary mom!  Weary because this little guy has just found his mobility, is pulling himself up to a stand on anything that presents itself as a possibility.  When he first arrived he carefully studied how the old Polish bentwood rocker moved back and forth at the slightest touch, then proceeded to pull himself to a standing position while it rocked!  And he can crawl across the room on his belly faster than you can blink an eye!  Suffice to say that any t.v. remote or anything resembling one is fair game as far as he's concerned!

So, what have I accomplished quilt-wise this week?  Not much, actually, though I did manage to pull my version of Lori's Palmateer Point quilt-along together.   This is Humble Quilt's annual fall quilt-along, which are always fun to participate in, especially getting to the third week and trying to figure out how Lori is going to arrange all the pieces we've been stitching into a coherent whole. 
I'm not especially enamored with my choice of fabrics for the half-square triangles in this version, and am playing around with a few border ideas to try reigning  in the white that seems to fly off the edges of the top right now.  We shall see what transpires from that.  I do love the overall look of this block and someday when I have a bit more time would like to experiment with setting additional quadrants into a barn-raising type of setting.  This could be very interesting.

It's also pretty neat seeing the block placed on-point.

Thanks Lori, for another fun quilt-along!  Check out her linky party here, to see all the other versions.

Monday, October 2, 2017

An Itty-bitty quilt show

On Saturday our little quilt ministry group hosted a quilt show at the church in conjunction with the town's annual harvest festival being held at the grange hall right across the road from our country church.  We showed some of our quilts and several other local ladies added their own quilts for a festive event!  I was delighted to find that we had enough quilts to cover all the rows of chairs in the sanctuary and even added a couple more rows of chairs along the outer walls to feature some large quilts.

Walking through the door, you were greeted with this view from the back of the room (sorry, some of these photos are less than crystal-clear).

Along the right-hand side of the room

There was a nice mix of antique, vintage and new quilts

both large

and small

small and smaller yet

Scrappy and controlled palettes

family heirlooms and yard sale finds

a riot of color everywhere you looked

A long and exhausting day, but so much fun as we talked with local people remembering their own grandmothers and aunts or neighbors who had made quilts and reminisced about them.  And the children, both boys and girls, especially those in the 8-12 year range who really seemed interested in learning to make a quilt of their own!  We also met several additional quilters from the area interested in showing some of their own work in next year's show.  All in all, a very fun event!