Wednesday, December 26, 2018

December OMG Finished

It's time for the monthly finish linkup at Elm Street Quilts.

For this month my goal was to create enough handmade fabric Christmas ornaments so that I could attach one to each of the younger grandkids' gifts.  In all I managed to complete 15 ornaments, enough for each of the grands and some to spare for our tree.

A few of my favorites:

Linking up with Elm Street Quilts' One Monthly Goal December Finish.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Little Orphan Quilt Finds a Home

Last weekend we continued our quest for a Christmas tree, traveling to the nearest larger town (meaning one with a Walmart, large supermarket and a Lowes).  Still not a Christmas tree lot anywhere along the way.  But we were finally successful when we arrived at Lowes, finding a little tree a bit more than 5 feet tall, but quite narrow. Obviously a very young tree. On the plus side, it was fresh and green and a Fraser fir which is our first choice when scouting out a tree.  After loading it in the back of the truck we set off on our other big store errands and a quick bit of lunch.  With nearly an hour to kill before picking up our (more) elderly friend from his dialysis treatment and taking him home, we found a little antique mall in the middle of town.  I think I've mentioned recently that I've never made a quilted tree skirt after all these years of quilting.  We've lately just been using some unhemmed Christmas fabric yardage to wrap around the tree.  Yeah, I know, pretty lazy. 

Anyhow, I began looking at some vintage tablecloths that were quite inexpensive, but didn't find anything that called out to come home with us.  Then hubby said, did you see the quilts?  I had, though not the one he pulled out from another booth.  Behold a sweet little red and white pristine charity quilt that obviously had been yard-saled without ever having been used.  The handwritten label with the name of the donor church quilting group was still attached to the back.

Well, obviously the only thing I could do was bring this sweet little orphan home with us and give it a new purpose in life!

It measures 36 inches square, perhaps it was meant for a small wheelchair quilt for a nursing home,or a baby quilt.  Very nicely made and quilted.

No "Christmas" fabrics in this little gem, but bright and cheerful and I think it looks happy to have a home and a new purpose in life!
Merry Christmas to all! 

Saturday, December 15, 2018

All the little projects

Over the past few days several small gifty projects have been completed, and I think I'm about finished with my Christmas sewing.  That is unless I decide to start piecing the throw size Christmas quilt for us that is all cut out and just waiting for action!  We've never had a Christmas quilt, or a quilted tree skirt either for that matter. 

So, since I'm pretty sure that those designated to receive these little items don't read my blog anyway,  here are the latest quick and easy projects.  First, a set of winter napkins with some leather napkin rings I've had for several years, purchased at an after-Christmas clearance.  Happily there is enough fabric left to make some for our table, a win-win!

Next, a set of kids snack mats.

Another set of snack mats.  These were blocks from a year-long mystery quilt that I quit working on after 3 months.  Wasn't liking the sameness of the monthly block patterns.  They're a good size for individual snack mats though! 

A couple full-size placemats.  These are similar to some I made a couple years ago, and there is still enough of this fabric to make a couple more for our table, another win-win, whenever I get around to it.

And I've made some progress on my One Monthly Goal of making some fabric ornaments to give to the younger grandkids.  A couple of my favorites:
I changed up my process for making these from the tutorial instructions, since the original ones were just flat two layers of fabric and seemed rather floppy.  After a bit of experimenting, I made 3-1/4 inch circles of poly batting and basted them in place behind the center of the pentagon while the edges were being stitched.  Then I used the beads to hold the batting circle in place after pressing down the triangles.  It adds a nice amount of dimension and the ornaments aren't floppy anymore. 

A strange phenomenon this year, there are hardly any Christmas tree lots in our area and the few we knew of had sold out of trees very early!  We drove through five or so surrounding towns with no luck earlier in the week.  Today we went to a larger town about an hour from here (the nearest Walmart and major supermarket, as well as Lowes) and finally found a small 5 foot tree at Lowes of all places!  There will be more than enough lights and ornaments this year, and hopefully by tomorrow evening it will finally begin to look like Christmas around the house!  Ice storm predicted for tomorrow morning, but our November snow is just about all melted and the gravel back roads in the nearby mountains have turned to mud. 

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Monday, December 10, 2018

An old doll quilt

My daughter was recently sorting through some of her old American Girl doll's accessories that she plans to gift to her niece for Christmas.  She still has her original Kirsten doll that she received for Christmas when she was 6 or 7 years old.  Her grandfather crafted a bed similar to the one in the catalog we had, and I learned a bit of Rosemaling so I could paint and decorate the bed.  What I'd forgotten was that I had also painted a large hinged wooden box with a similar design for all the doll clothes I made for her Kirsten doll.  She found it among all the other treasures and sent along this photo.

I still have pieces of that lace trim in my stash! But the photo I really loved is this next one, the quilt I made for that Kirsten doll 30-some years ago.

Enlarging the photo I realized it had been made from scraps from the first quilt I ever made for my daughter for her 'big girl' bed when she was about three years old.  And there are still small scraps of some of those fabrics hanging around here today!  And bits and pieces appear in many later scrappy quilts.

Just a bit of Monday nostalgia that made my day!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

December's OMG

Thanks to Patty at Elm Street Quilts for hosting the One Monthly Goal linkups.  I've just recently joined the crowd, and have found it very helpful toward completing 'something' each month, even if the goal is fairly small.  Of course in the back of my mind seven or eight other projects are also clamoring for attention!  And you already knew that, since if you're reading this little blog it's 99.99% certain that you are also a quilter.

Anyhow, this month I've got several Christmas-oriented projects in the works.  Some will be gifted soon, some probably won't be complete until next year.  I've been playing around with some new-to-me fabric ornaments, and my OMG for the month will be to complete enough to be able to attach one to each of the younger grandkids' gifts. 

Three additional totes have been completed, all variations on the first one, though these latter ones have the Pellon 809 fusible interfacing which gave them more body and overall a better finish, I think.

And I used up all of that rain-wear fabric I had found in the! This next one has already been gifted.

And the last one

Off to our weekly quilt ministry meeting in a bit.  Linking up with Elm Street Quilts December Goal Linkup. 

Monday, November 26, 2018

Rockwell Christmas Quilts finished!

Over the Thanksgiving weekend I finished stitching down the binding on these two vintage panel quilts, destined for my son and daughter's families.    After all the years waiting in my Christmas fabric totes and who-knows-how-many years before I acquired them, they are finally about to go to their new homes!

The red

and the green

That vintage red poinsettia yardage had served as our 'tree skirt' for several years and has been washed and dried several times, but you know the story - it bled, just a little - into two of the corner blocks of the first quilt - sigh!  Thankfully though, there is absolutely no pink/red staining in either of the white panel backgrounds or the other corner blocks! 

Two quick and easy gift quilts that ate up a lot of yardage that had been hanging around here for far too long.  Here is a close-up of the quilting and corner blocks for the green quilt.

Working on a few more easy stitching projects for Christmas gifting.  Easy sewing is about all I can do until my appointment for new prescription glasses which will likely take another three weeks or so.

Monday, November 19, 2018

November OMG "Sajou" is a Finish!

Last week, between cataract surgeries, I finished the hand quilting and binding for Sajou, my Humble Quilts little quilt-along for this fall and my mini for November.

After attempting photos on a couple different gray days, this was the best I could do.  Hopefully the hand quilting will show up just a bit on at least one of these.  I did ditch quilt the major sashing and border seams by machine, and then hand quilted the rest.

I'll be linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal - November Finish  when the linky party goes live at the end of the month.  Now to find a good place to display this little gem.   Thanks again Lori for a fun quilt-along!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Something New

I've seen dozens of tutorials for making totes, but had never tried my hand at making one, until this past weekend.  Andy at A Bright Corner posted about a cute little French Market Tote she had just finished, and provided a link for a tutorial she had previously posted.  This one looked very simple, no pockets, no zippers, no applied hardware of any kind, just the thing for a quick little project.

Sorting through fabric bins a couple weeks back I found two pieces of a rainwear type fabric, one in navy and the other a burgundy color, probably found at a long-ago yard sale.  I had no idea what I was going to do with them until I saw the tutorial for this tote.  Each had less than a yard left, but enough to meet the fabric requirements, and there was enough yardage of a blue print for the contrasting band, handles and lining.  This is the result.

The only fusible interfacing available in our local store was quite lightweight.  Andy's tutorial recommended Pellon 809 which our store did not carry.  I think this bag is a bit lighter weight than I'd like, and I've ordered some of the recommended Pellon before proceeding to work with the burgundy fabric.  Although the instructions for the interfacing I did have recommended against using it on rainwear, it did work reasonably well, though a few small ripples appeared after the final pressing. 

A closer look at the contrasting print.  Love that fabric!

Now I just need to find a piece of something stiff enough to line the bottom of the bag to provide a bit more stability.  

Moving right along, the binding for Sajou just needs hand stitching on the back, the two Christmas quilts are awaiting their binding, hopefully tomorrow, and another holiday project is waiting in the wings.  Oh yes, the second cataract surgery is scheduled for Thursday, hopefully everything will go smoothly as the first one last week!

Our prayers for all those affected by the utter devastation happening in California this week.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

What I've Been Working On

About ten years ago, while I was still working, a retired teacher who regularly visited our office came by with some bags of 'sewing things.'  She was nearly 90 at the time and her daughter was insisting that she sell the family farm and move into smaller quarters in town.  Among the items she was giving away to any and all takers were two Norman Rockwell Christmas panels, which I happily accepted. 

These vintage panels are much larger than those produced currently, measuring 35 inches by over 57 inches from selvedge to selvedge!  They were marked only "Wamsutta" and "Hallmark Cards."  I would love to know when they were produced but so far Google has revealed nothing. 

Anyway, right from the time I received them I had planned to make Christmas quilts for my son and daughter's families.  This is the year that will hopefully become a reality!

So last week I found my bin of Christmas fabrics and went to work to add some borders and make the quilts a little larger than just panels, found a perfect backing fabric from among the flannels and set about quilting them.  Here is the first one, quilting complete and just needing binding attached along with a bunch of threads to tie off and bury.
It was dark and gloomy when these photos were taken, in the one above the red border is more true to color than the left.

I used my go-to allover quilting motif, Wendy Sheppard's Jesters Hat to quilt these since doing anything more elaborate would push the finishes into next year.  The idea is to get them done, and gifted, move some stash out of the closet and off of my UFOs list - this year!   A couple close-ups of the quilting:

This first quilt top measured 73 x 51-1/2 inches before quilting.  And I'm loving this wonderful Thimbleberries flannel backing from 2006 - 6 whole yards sitting in the bottom of the bin, and just exactly enough to back both quilts!  It's so soft and plush, I know the grands will be fighting over who gets to wrap up in this quilt - good thing it's long enough to go over all three if they snuggle up on the couch!

The second one, for my daughter's family, is well on the way, being about 75% quilted at this point.  It has a predominantly green border and different print cornerstones, but otherwise is very similar to this first one.   I'll be taking a break from quilting for a few days as the first cataract surgery is scheduled for tomorrow morning.  Hoping that the stitching hiatus is short-lived, cause I'm on a Christmas gift-making roll now and don't want to stop!

Monday, October 29, 2018

One Monthly Goal - October Finish Link-up and a November Goal

It's time to post my goal finish for this month on Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal.

This is my first month posting, and I'll have to say that having that goal in mind kept me on task, and tada, here is my finish, photographed on one of the few sunny mornings we've had in October.

You can find my full post about this finish with a few more photos here.

November is going to be an iffy month as far as goal-setting goes, since I'll be having cataract surgery on both eyes and then hubby will have his first cataract surgery at the end of the month.  So I'll keep my goal simple, with the not-so-secret hope of actually accomplishing more.  My little Sajou top is beckoning me to finish the quilting and binding, and so I'll make that my November goal.

Sajou, the flimsy

Linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal October finish, and linking up a second time with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal for November.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

An October Mini

I've been collecting bits of 1930s fabrics for quite a few years, collecting fat quarters, yard sale finds, gifts from quilty friends, and even purchased some 2-yard pieces a few years back with the intention of making some aprons.  Have never used any of them, until this month.  There's a little pre-holiday gathering coming up in mid-November that required a hand-made gift.   Browsing some of my older quilting magazines I spotted this, on the very last page of the Spring 2012 issue of Quilt Sampler, designed by Leslie Main.

This looked like fun and completely doable, even noting all those miniscule triangles.  I'm sure you can't miss them - the entire quilt measures a whole 18 inches square.  I thought some of my 1930s repros would make for a fun version, and after several evenings of cutting, piecing, and more cutting and piecing, I had this, all pinned and ready for quilting.

Love this backing fabric

I quilted it pretty much as shown in the inspiration piece, and attempted one of my machine's embroidery stitches in the outer green border.  I used two strands of fairly closely matched 50 wt. Aurifil through the needle to do that part of the stitching.  Had to switch from my usual microtex 70/10 needle to a universal 80/12 in order to get two strands through the eye, but it worked well, and I think there is a little better definition to the stitching, though my green threads matched the green fabrics a bit too closely and the stitching isn't as defined as I'd like.  It shows up best on this fabric:

All finished and bound and ready for gifting. 

It's another dreary, rainy day as we're getting the last remnants of Hurricane Willa (or was it William?) this weekend.  Thankfully not snow, at least not yet, that's coming tonight and tomorrow.  The creek is flooding and by tomorrow the basement will be too.  So, with all the dreariness I played around with a couple new-to-me filters while editing the photos, and will continue the amusement by planning borders for two Norman Rockwell Christmas panels that I'm finally getting around to quilting, hopefully in time for a some family gifts this season.   Oh yes, there's a baby quilt to plan too!

"Icarus" filter

"Sunscreen" filter

"Zeke" filter

I'm easily amused on a rainy day!   I hope you all are having a beautiful warm sunfilled fall day!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Sajou, Parts 2 and 3 - the completed flimsy

Lori threw us a bit of a curve when Sajou went from Part 1
to Part 2 - with the center on point!

Thankfully, subconsciously I must have been thinking this might happen as I had oriented my central bird to 'sort of' work in both positions.  Then the dilemma began.  I had hoped to use some of that center fabric again in the project, but where?  My thought had been to incorporate it into the outermost border, but now another opportunity presented itself.  What to do, what to do?

So, it ended up here, in Part 2.  Then, along came part 3, which I loved when I saw Lori's version.  Hard to believe that after making quilts for over 30 years I had never before done a border with this triangular configuration.  After choosing fabrics and carefully cutting triangles, I began stitching them together last Saturday. And ripped.  And stitched.  And ripped.  And stitched.  And ripped.  Arggh!  No matter how I tried to align them the points were going to be haphazard and look terrible.  At that point after a few tears and muttered mumblings, I went back at it, and after 8 hours (yes, 8 hours) I finally had the border added.  Then later that evening I found my Fons and Porter triangle point trimmer thingies in the bottom of my templates drawer - yeah, should have remembered them eight hours earlier!  Lesson learned.

Anyhoo, I bring you Part 3, the flimsy!

And I have to say, even after all the angst, I love this little top!  Then I went looking for a backing and found this, which looks perfect to me

So now Sajou is all layered and awaiting hand quilting, hopefully to begin next week.  Still deciding whether to ditch the major long seams by machine before beginning the hand work.  I think it might stabilize the quilt a bit, so I'm leaning toward doing that.  Also deliberating on whether to attach the binding to the front of the quilt to help stabilize the edges of those triangles.  When I began quilting many years ago I generally attached the binding before the quilting was completed but haven't done that for years.  What could possibly go wrong?!

Linking up with Lori's linky party at Humble Quilts.  Enjoy the show, there have been a LOT of very inspiring versions popping up on the Humble Quilts Facebook group and I'm looking forward to seeing even more on the linky party.