Friday, March 29, 2019

Sing the Blues March Edition

Waiting til the last minute as usual, Sing the Blues Mama Lou has doubled in size this month with the addition of four more blocks.

Added to the design wall it looks like this, with March's blocks on the left:

A bit like looking down on a group of parasols marching along, maybe? 

I'm undecided at the moment whether to make just two more sets of four blocks, then add a small white border and a blue piano-key border and call it done, or to add four more sets of blocks and a border which will make it a good size throw quilt (or tablecloth - for photography purposes only in this house!).  These blocks do seem a bit tedious while under construction but I'm loving the end result!  And I've seen so many string ideas that I'd like to pursue I'm very tempted to make the smaller version of this one and then head down yet another squirrel trail. 

Linking with Lori at Humble Quilts Stringalong 2019.  Lori is such a wonderful enabler isn't she!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Progress on March's One Monthly Goal

My goal for March was to find/piece a backing for the quarter log cabin block quilt and hopefully to begin the quilting.  Happy to report that I achieved both parts of that goal!  After going through the entire stash I settled on these two coordinating prints for the backing, which actually merged together rather well I think, and inspired the name for this quilt.  These fabrics have been around for a few years, as you might guess.

In the late 1960s the song Marrakesh Express was recorded by Crosby Stills and Nash.  Having been raised in a sheltered conservative home, and being young I was naively unaware of the psychedelic counterculture undertones of the lyrics, and loved the song for its light-hearted and upbeat tempo.  The tune immediately jogged my distant memory as I pulled out these fabrics and began piecing the back.  And so, another 50 year old tune from my memory bank named this quilt which I'm calling Marrakesh.   Can my memory really be this old?  Sigh ...

Anyhow, the quilt has been sandwiched, the ditch quilting completed, and some free-motion quilting has begun with the aid of my little stencil collection.  A bit of progress to date:

That olive green fabric used in the setting triangles has given me fits from the start with stretching even after being starched, so I began by quilting them into some sort of submission (I hope!).

Next, the neutral strips in each of the log cabin blocks:

And that is as far as the quilting has progressed as of today.  I have every hope of completing the quilting and getting the binding on during April, though yard cleanup and spring cleaning may end up taking a bit more time than I'd like, weather providing.   It's still cold and windy here, and remnants of the ice slabs the creek deposited on the yard in January still remain.  They will melt, one of these days, right?

Linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal for March.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

March Mini Madness

Some would say it's bordering on madness to reach into a large heap of unfinished FMQ practice pieces from seven years ago to find the makings of a mini, but that's what happened here this month.

There's this trash bag filled with bits and pieces of things that just couldn't be thrown way when we made our cross country move back in 2014, and they had already been hanging around the sewing room for a couple years at that point.  Most all were stitched during the year-long 2012 FMQ Challenge hosted by SewCalGal (now QuiltShopGal), either as a monthly practice piece or merely doodling.  That big bag is in the way each and every time I need to empty the stash closet searching for the piece of fabric needed for a project.  So, it's now or never, either make something of them or pitch them out!

Some of the remaining FMQ practice pieces, ranging from mug rug to placemat size.

So, why on earth continue to save them?  I guess the best answer is because I don't often quilt these tiny filler designs anymore, since most of my quilts are bed size and I prefer less quilting for a softer finish. Yet, they represent a lot of work in that year of following along with the challenge, and I just can't bring myself to let them go.  Many of the scrappier pieces were either tossed or made into kitty quilts several years ago.

Anyhow, I chose this piece from the June 2012 challenge by Cindy Needham for this month's mini.  Yep, you've seen it before, the never-been-changed header photo since this blog's beginning, in all it's unfinished glory.  This was the very first quilting project I attempted with my then-brand-new Janome 7700.  You can see the original post about it here.   Fast-forward to today, and here is my long-last finished mini quilt.

The finished quilt measures 15 inches square.  I echo quilted the original circle several times, then finished off with many radiating lines out to the edges.

Then since I dislike the look of travel stitching and my eyesight doesn't allow it anyway, there were a LOT of ends to tie off and bury - each one of those radiating lines representing a new start and stop at the edge!

I decided to finish this as a companion piece to Menorah, another practice piece from 2012 that was completed last fall. I was so happy with the gold batik binding on that one that I repeated it on the current mini.

The robins and red-wing blackbirds arrived last week, proving once again that spring is coming, whether we like it or not!  And it snowed a couple inches last night ...  And the pineapple continues to head skyward on its stout stalk, its tiny purple blooms just beginning to open.

Linking up with Wendy's Peacock Party.

Monday, March 4, 2019

A Finish and a Goal

Over the weekend this little child's quilt found its way to the finished pile and will be donated for our quilt ministry.  A very straight-forward little leader and ender project, the four-patches were made while piecing the star units for the Christmas top completed a few weeks back.

The four-patches are made from three packs of 2-1/2 inch squares I received several years ago.  The original plan was to make place mats for some of the grandchildren, but that never happened, and I'm on a quest this year to divest myself of some of the excess stash that has just been sitting around, especially the little precuts that seem never enough to make anything substantial.  A new-to-me stencil was quilted in the outer border. I think this stencil will make an excellent practice motif for our newer free-motion quilters, great practice for smooth curves, and fills a fairly narrow border nicely.  I think this one will get a lot of use!

The backing was made up of leftover fabrics from a baby quilt made nearly ten years ago for our oldest granddaughter.

After completing  three quilts over the last week for our ministry's quilt 'pantry' my plan is to move on this month to starting a couple quilts for the yearly camp benefit auction which happens each Labor Day weekend.  Luckily the first flimsy was already finished last fall and has been awaiting quilting for several months.

Early last fall I was given several blocks and enough coordinating fabric to complete 13 total blocks. After going through my stash the blocks eventually became this top.

My goal for March will be to find suitable backing and binding fabrics, and at least have the quilt sandwiched and perhaps partially quilted by the end of the month.  It should make a good size throw quilt as the top measures 70 inches square.

Linking up with Elm Street Quilts where Patty graciously hosts the One Monthly Goal challenge each month.  

We seem to have missed the brunt of the latest storm, for which everyone around here is breathing a sigh of relief.  Winter does seem rather never-ending this year doesn't it? Between snow showers early this morning I managed to snap this quick photo, though the camera and I didn't stay outside for long as the temperature was still in the teens.

Happy Monday stitching, and I hope you are seeing signs of spring where you live!