Thursday, February 28, 2019

February's Final Finishes

So here it is, the end of February, it's (still) snowing, with lots more predicted for the first Marching in Like a Lion weekend, sigh.  Nothing to do but keep on quilting, hehe!

These 'terrible twins' finishes started out as a rather innocent baggie of 3-1/2 inch (more or less) squares donated to our quilt ministry sometime last year.  Being under the delusion that I might create something like one of Debbie's wonderful watercolor masterpieces I dove into them early last fall.  It was all quite innocent at the time.  But as soon as I began placing 'squares' on the design wall it became quickly obvious that there were nowhere near enough different prints to make a true watercolor quilt.  What to do.  After scrounging through the meager 3-1/2 inch squares in the ministry's stash bins, I just started piecing twosies, then adding a square, rinse and repeat, then stitching the threesies into nine-patch blocks. Working on these only during free time at quilt ministry.

By the end of December most of the nine-patches were finally done.  There were a few of these flower blocks that had been made early in our quilt ministry days just sitting on a shelf, so they became part of the mix.  Still, this was what was facing me at the end of December.
Early design wall mess

The idea of incorporating those flowers intrigued me, but clearly this wasn't going anywhere.  Then came the discovery of a lovely eggplant solid in our stash!  You say red is the new "neutral," well I'm here to advocate for eggplant as the next new neutral!  Here's why:

First finish - "Chaos Corralled"

My favorite of the two, mostly because it does ... sort of ... have a bit of a watercolor effect.  Be kind, I know you're rolling on the floor laughing!  The eggplant fabric did an amazing job of blending well with all the other fabrics in the quilt, though most of these photos show it much darker than its true color.

A bit of the back, probably gleaned from a thrifted then donated sheet, faded but still very soft and snuggly.

Then, the second of the 'terrible twins', created from all the leftover nine-patches.  Also known as "Chaos Unleashed," queen of the mismatched seams and ripply scrappy binding.

It at least deserved a glamour shot to mask its infirmities.  This next shot also gives you a better rendition of the color of that lovely eggplant fabric.  

The back of this one is a sweet but thin print that has sat in my stash for far too long.  The remaining yard+ has been given to one of our church members with a baby girl, for her Easter dress.  Perhaps the thinness of the fabric accounted for the wavy edges/binding.  Though I fear it may have been the meandering line quilting, great texture and loft though I'm not sure if I'll try it again anytime soon.  

These two are slated to be donated as a need arises, they will make good chemo quilts, or perhaps for a nursing home patient.  There are a lot of I-spy squares to be discovered, everything from florals to vegetables, Noah's Ark to fishing gear to wedding rings and roosters!

And, if you're still reading, here's the latest shot of the pineapple bud/flower growing in our sunroom.  It has grown a couple inches since I last posted a photo.  That despite the snowstorm raging (again) outside the window.

Til next time, happy quilting!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Singin' the Blues

A long time ago when the world and I were much younger, the country-blues-pop singer Rita Coolidge sang a Cajun-inspired song "Sing the Blues, Mama Lou."  It was a favorite for a long time, and as soon as I started working with my blue strings, it came to mind once again. I've been humming (or singing when no one else is around) that song ever since.  So, I guess this quilt has named itself, Sing the Blues Mama Lou!

Late last month I had started with a pile of blue scraps, the very day Lori had posted her first link-up.

So, naturally not much was accomplished in January, just a pitiful offering though I did join the linkup.

My plan now is to try to get a four block unit completed each month until the quilt tells me it's finished.   It now looks like this, with the first four blocks done and sewn together!  Actually all that white doesn't look nearly as obnoxious in person as it does in the photo below.

While I'm really liking this project, I can already see things I'd like to do a bit differently, so this first four-block unit may end up not being used in the final quilt, but time (and energy) will tell.  And there are lots more strings of every color around here, so who knows where this adventure is headed!

Joining the Stringalong 2019 link-up for February hosted by Lori at Humble Quilts, where you'll find lots more playing with strings inspiration.

Friday, February 22, 2019

February's One Monthly Goal Finish

It's good to meet a goal, and I did manage to complete both the top and back of our Christmas quilt this month.  The completed top:

The back is made up of all the flannel Christmas themed scraps left over from the grandkids' quilts from nearly 10 years ago plus the two Rockwell Christmas quilts completed last fall.  I'm pretty sure there is not a scrap of Christmas flannel left in the stash - yay!

My plan is to set this aside for quilting in the fall, after canning season and the annual benefit auction are over for the year.  Fall and winter are my personal quilting seasons, and I love the slightly more relaxed pace that the change of seasons brings. 

Linking up with Patty at Elm Street Quilts and the One Monthly Goal - February Finish Linkup.
Also linking with Wendy's Quilts and More Peacock Party.

Wishing you all a lovely weekend!  We're bracing for near-hurricane force winds Sunday through Monday, then more snow. 

Thursday, February 14, 2019

February's Mini Quilt

Just in time for Valentine's Day, this little mostly red quilt is a finish.  It is the first in my little series Pieced From Lois's Scraps.  Last year one of our ministry members began bringing in baggies of leftover scraps from a few of her fabulous traditional quilts.  I challenged the group to take the baggie home, choose one additional fabric and create a small quilt top, then return the leftover fabrics for someone else to take and on and on.  Well, as of now, only one other member of the group has taken on the challenge.  This was the pile of scraps when we began:

My friend Nancy created this little top.  I don't know if she has quilted it yet.

And this is the quilt I made.  A lot of red, but I've always loved red, my favorite color as a child.

With several other quilts in the hand quilting queue, I resorted to machine quilting this one.  I had pressed open all those little nine-patch seams which ruled out ditch quilting, so the best option seemed to be vertical/horizontal cross-hatching through all those blocks.  A couple walking foot stitch options in the borders and I called this one done.

I used one of my favorite feed sacks for the back.  There were only a few in my collection and last year I decided to get them out and begin using them.  I love them for small quilt backs.

Three years ago we rooted a new plant from a supermarket pineapple and it has finally decided to grace us with a flower to brighten this bleak midwinter week.  It's still in bud, but looks promising!

Friends who live off the grid on a nearby mountaintop have grown these successfully in their sunroom for years, even harvesting small pineapples occasionally.  Hope we'll be that lucky in a few weeks/months.

Happy Valentines Day!

Linking up with Wendy's Peacock Party.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Turning the Corner

It seems I've been hand quilting this one for years, and I guess I have.  But night-before-last I finally finished the last of the center strips, and could finally move on to marking and beginning the quilting of the outer borders of my basket quilt.  After removing the hoop I immediately threw it on the guest bed for a quick pic.

This was a quilt featured in an older Fons and Porter book Fat Quarter Friendly, and their version was called French Country Strippy. 

The batting I used for this one is Hobbs 80/20 and so the quilting generally isn't well defined, but in the late afternoon light as I was marking the outer borders I was able to capture all the torturous outline quilting of the inner floral strips that seemed to take forever and a day.

and a bit closer

The outermost borders are now marked with a linear stencil.  Not doing that outline around the flowers thing again.  I'd like to see this one finished sometime in this decade!

I'd hoped to finish the remaining rows on the Christmas top over the weekend, but the birth of grandbaby number nine and an 80th birthday party for my sister-in-law on Sunday put the kabosh on that idea.  Grandbaby though he arrived early and tiny, is already home and doing great.  His big brothers are smitten, not to mention the new dad and mom, and grandparents!

Though I'd love to share a photo of the little guy, I've made the decision to not post any more family photos on my blog due to the number of phony Bloglovin 'followers' that keep cropping up in my stats, all of which are associated with far less than desirable websites.  If I knew how to completely close my Bloglovin account without having to close out this blog, I'd do so, but in the meantime I'm trying to be extremely careful about my post titles and will keep comment moderation active in the hopes of not having any unsavory things appear in the comment section.   That's all I know to do, as I'm old-school and not terribly computer savvy.

After several days of sunny, almost balmy 50-60 degree weather our snow is almost gone, the creek is treacherous with all the ice break-up and thaw, and tonight the temperatures are dropping back to the freezing mark.  And winter begins again.  More quilting time before the rakes and rototillers come out again!

Friday, February 1, 2019

One Monthly Goal for February

It's time once again to link up with Patty at Elm Street Quilts for the One Monthly Goal for February.

In January, between other projects, I began piecing a throw size Christmas quilt for our home, in the now apparently vain hope that my stash of Christmas fabrics would finally be depleted.  Well, that hasn't happened, but the top has occupied the design wall for a month, and needs to come off so I can work on a quilt ministry project.  A little over half the top has now been pieced.  Here's the latest photo of progress, this is the top half of the quilt.

Finishing piecing this top is my OMG for February, and if the scrappy flannel backing is also pieced it will be a huge bonus.  My plan is to machine quilt this next fall after the benefit auction takes place in September.

Oh yes, that's my Quilty 365 languishing in the hoop stand in the background.  You'll be seeing this one again as a One Monthly Goal (probably for several months) after handquilting of my basket quilt is completed.

Linking to the Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal February Link-up.