Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Strings, Strings, Beautiful Strings

Lori at Humble Quilts is hosting a 2019 Stringalong, and posted her first month linky party today.  As is often the case, I dithered thought a lot about what kind of string quilt to start off the year, and procrastinated until the day the linky party was posted to get started.  But, start I did this afternoon.

I found a great little tutorial for a spiderweb block on Marit's blog Quilt-It, and decided to make a small quilt using this tutorial.  At the moment the plan is to make 4 blocks and then add a couple borders of piano keys - we'll see where we end up in a few months.  There may just be enough blue strings and scraps for a full size quilt.

Cutting and marking the base triangles.  This one is ready for stitching.

Strings sewn on.

The back after sewing the strings.  Note the white base fabric is only attached at the seam attaching the first string on each side.  It is folded back out of the way for each subsequent string, and only serves as a measuring aid for the added strings and a guide for trimming the final shape.

After trimming the excess.  After trimming the triangle shape, the excess base fabric is also cut away.

The pros to this method: no papers to rip away after the blocks are stitched.  This is a big one in my book!  The cons:  You are left with these odd-shaped triangles to add to the scrap bins.

Hopefully by the next linky party there will be some completed blocks to show you.  Linking up with Lori's Stringalong 2019, where you'll even see some finished string quilts in the mix!

Hearts and Flowers is a Finish

This is a finish that makes my heart sing, and it is already on its way or perhaps even delivered to the elderly nursing home resident for whom it was requested.

"Hearts and Flowers"
42 x 46 inches

This little wheelchair quilt project, completed in just over a week, was tremendous fun from beginning to end!  And so out of my usual mode of following a pattern of many pieced blocks, using primarily earthy autumn shades, etc.  Simple piecing to be sure, but there's just something about the final combination of semi-vintage fabrics and joyful colors that really uplifted my spirit this month.  What follows are a sampling of close-up photos of the fabrics and the simple quilting, mostly so I can remember this little quilt in the future.

Several of Lori Kennedy's motifs were used in the quilting, as well as free-form FMQ flowers and leaves, and ditch quilting with the walking foot.

The back, the brown fabric is probably polyester, but oh-so soft to the touch

I'm hoping to gather up some similar fabrics and make a throw quilt for myself soon.  I need some bright and cheerful colors around me during this bleak mid-winter.  The Polar Vortex is upon us today, the schools are all closed, probably for the rest of the week, but the dog still insists on going out to play... we're letting him out for five minutes at a time, he loves the snow.

Taken during a rare afternoon sunbreak

Linking up with Wendy's Peacock Party here.

Happy Quilting and keep warm!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

A Mini for January

Back just before Christmas Lori (Humble Quilts) shared this cute little quilt she called Swiss Cross-Merry Christmas!  I've seen several versions since then created by other bloggers posted to Lori's Facebook group and thought why not?

Then I had the probably not-so-bright idea of reversing the light-dark color scheme and using several of my darker color solids for the crosses.  Every once in a while I like to create a little challenge for this aging brain, forcing it into thinking outside the box with only a couple hand-written references.  Anyhow, this is how that little experiment ended up.

What do do about quilting this.  Another decision, and I chose one of my favorite Aurifil variegated threads that has all the colors represented in the quilt.  Good decision maybe, except I tried using it for ditching all those seams - not so good.  Then in an effort to highlight the thread I quilted the large triangles from the intersection of each of those outer squares to the outer corner of the triangle.  That part at least highlights the colors properly, though sadly I was never able to capture the color nuances of that pretty thread with the camera.

My husband saw the quilt sitting on the cutting table and remarked "looks like a hot air balloon" and I suppose it does.  When we lived in Oregon there was a yearly hot air balloon festival in a nearby town during summer, and we often saw them rising above the valley in the early morning hours during our workday commutes.

For the back I used this vintage-looking print that has been in my stash for quite awhile.  I actually won't mind using the quilt this side up!

After washing, the front looked a little puffier and the ditch quilting receded a bit - a good thing I think.

This is my first month joining Wendy's (The Constant Quilter) monthly mini-quilt challenge.  It promises to be a lot of fun, if I can keep up!

Friday, January 25, 2019

January OMG and a Bonus Finish

So happy to be able to say I've completed my January OMG plus a little bonus quilt!  First, the OMG project, a baby quilt for grandchild number 9, expected in February.

Simply machine quilted with walking foot and Jester's Hat FMQ motif

A lovely soft vintage gauzy Batik over plaid backing

And a little bonus quilt for the new baby, what I'm calling a 3-in-1 quilt.  Mom can use it for a travel changing mat, or a wall hanging, or let the little guy have it for a comfort "lovey."  Kindly ignore that renegade thread that I never noticed until after editing the photos ... sigh.

I absolutely adore this sweet little fox face!

The back

We ended up missing the baby shower last weekend, since we were in the midst of a major winter blast of snow and it was a 200 mile round trip drive.  We awoke the next morning to 12 inches of snow, dropping temperatures and biting winds.  For the next couple days it was minus 18 or 19 each morning and then along came a mid-week thaw accompanied first by sunshine and then heavy rains.
Yesterday, we awoke to this in our far back yard, a result of snow, ice, heavy rain and raging creek.

Some of these ice slabs are 12 inches thick

Someone is miffed because the creek is too treacherous to cross!

I'll be linking up with Patty's Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Finish for January and also joining Wendy's Peacock Party for the first time this week.

Happy weekend quilting, and thanks for visiting!  Til next time ..

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Squirrel Invasion

With all the cold weather and the seed and suet feeders full we've had a small invasion of little red squirrels, one or two grays, and of course the chippies.  I seem to be building squirrels in the sewing room too ...

I've always tried to avoid making those flippy corners demanded by so many quilt patterns. Seems no matter whether I tried drawing lines or just winging it corner to corner I always ended up with too many cut-off points and other crooked atrocities.  But after reading Bonnie Hunter's blog for a few months and how she consistently recommended the Simple Folded Corners ruler, I caved and put it on my Christmas wish list.  And thus began the current mess in my sewing room I'll loosely call squirrel-building!  Here's a photo of that magic ruler in case anyone (besides me) hasn't seen or tried one before this.  The white tape is surgical tape placed on the back to keep the ruler from slipping, the green painters tape to keep me from losing my place cutting hundreds of corners over the past couple of weeks!
No affiliation with the creator of this ruler, just a happy user!

The first project I started in an apparently vain attempt to clear the Christmas fabrics tote.  Not a chance, but here's what the design wall looked like a few days ago.  Kind of a mess, huh?

Being transformed into rows like this - the top row with borders attached.
Loving how all those star points are coming along

I've since finished and attached the second row, and began the third row before being sidetracked this week with a request for a nursing home quilt. 

The recipient in question is a 95-year-old woman with dementia, who in her younger years lived on a farm not far from here and had also been a quilter.  Her son asked me if I could make her a lap quilt, I think in the hope that seeing the fabrics would spark some memory of her former enjoyment of creating her own quilts for family and friends.   In the past couple weeks our quilt ministry has received some donated fabrics from an estate, included were a few fabrics suitable for quilting, all probably vintage 1980s and 1990s fabrics.  Some still retained their original sale tags, most were 5 yard pieces, purchased for $2.00 or less per yard!  I added a few more fabrics from my stash and decided to try flying geese with the new ruler.  Again, so happy that I wasn't losing the points!

And tonight this little top is complete.  I'll piece the back and hopefully get it layered and ready for quilting tomorrow.  The top currently measures 42-1/2 by 46-1/2 inches, a good wheelchair size.

We're expecting a major snowstorm and blizzard conditions beginning on Saturday, so I'm hoping to be able to quilt much of the weekend, if we have power.   Then decide what to do with all those bonus HST squares!  More squirrels!

Wishing you all a good weekend, hopefully out of the path of the storm.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Reflections, Looking Forward and First Flimsy of the Year!

The first week of the new year is behind us, and I've read the many recent blog posts featuring a recap of the last year's quilty accomplishments. I dithered a bit about whether to create a similar post.  I finally decided a brief summary would take care of it, and anyone wishing to see photos of all the 2018 finishes will find all of them under the page titled 2015 and Later, the most recent year being at the top when you click on that page.  Here are just three of my favorite finishes for the year.

"Tutti Frutti" donated to local Christian camp benefit auction

"Lines and Boxes" donated to local Christian camp benefit auction

"Autumn Oaks" to be gifted to a family member 

In all I finished 18 quilts during 2018, including 10 donation quilts (3 of which were pieced/appliqued by another quilter and I completed the machine quilting and binding).  In addition were five mini/small quilts (one gifted) and three larger throw or queen size quilts that either have already been or will be gifted.  I also plodded along with the hand quilting on one queen and one king size quilt, hopefully to be finished this year!

I will admit that by the end of August after completing the 10 donation quilts I had pretty much reached burn-out stage, but having the final few months to work on personal (fun) projects  was really rejuvenating.  It's something I want to pursue more of in the new year, and less of the deadline quilting!  Of course there will be some donation quilts for our quilt ministry, but not likely as many as last year.  Sometimes, though it hurts to even admit it to myself, getting older often means a bit of slowing down is a necessary part of the process, as I found out after my recent cataract surgeries.

So, for the new year, it is one day at a time, working on projects I love, and maybe even letting go of some that in all likelihood will never be finished.  More hand quilting, and hopefully getting at least one quilt on the Grace frame found at last September's auction.  I'm also planning to participate in Lori's (Humble Quilts) Stringalong 2019 and also Wendy's (Constant Quilter) mini challenge. Sure hope I can keep up!

A First Flimsy was promised in the post title, and here it is!  A couple years ago my blogging friend Janet of Rogue Quilter sent along a sweet package of small tumblers, which have been waiting for just the right time to begin piecing.  Over the holidays I began piecing them as leaders/enders while working on a couple other projects.  A few evenings ago I decided to just get on with it and get a little top made.  Here they are with rows numbered awaiting final assembly.

The dilemma became how do I add a border without overwhelming this with one of the same colors already in abundance?  Searching the bins, scraps and fat quarter I finally came up with two borders.  I knew as soon as I spotted that small dark purple scrap that it just had to be part of this little quilt, and it took every bit of the scrap for the outer border. 
And though this quilt is small, it's speaking with a mighty voice, demanding to be hand quilted, so it will take its place in the hand quilting line-up, hopefully to appear again as soon as the big basket quilt comes out of the hoop.  Which I'm hoping will happen sometime before ... Easter ... maybe?
Thanks Janet for these sweet tumblers, I had a great time working on this little project!  What a great way to start the new year.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

My January One Monthly Goal

Looking forward to the new year, I find myself needing to consider adjusting to a new reality, that of more impaired vision.  While hoping for the best from the cataract surgeries, I always knew there was a chance that a new 'normal' would be part of the equation.  And so it is, thus far at least.  I won't bore you with all the details at this point, but hope still remains that the next new set of prescription glasses will at least allow me to see up close without constant headaches, dizziness, and sometimes double vision. 

So, on to January's One Monthly Goal, that of finishing a baby quilt by the middle of the month!  While I had the fabrics since October or so, I waited until after the surgeries to begin working on this quilt hoping my vision would be improved, and then waiting until the new prescription for reading/sewing glasses arrived.  When I had to send back the first set of glasses, and the deadline looming, last week I finally began piecing some borders onto this absolutely adorable central panel.  So thankful I'd decided to keep things simple!!  It ended up even more simple than I had first planned.

Here is the completed flimsy.  The mom's chosen colors for the nursery are shades of gray and black with accents of blue. 

My One Monthly Goal for January will be to complete this quilt in time for the baby shower in less than three weeks. Joining  Elm Street Quilts for the One Monthly Goal January Goal Setting Linkup.