Friday, May 31, 2019

String Quiltalong Progress, Potpourri, and a Sweet Win

Here it is the end of May and my quota of 4 additional string blocks are complete!  This might be the first month I've actually had them done and dusted before the last day of the month.  Because I abandoned my other projects for a couple days.  But I'm happy with the way this quilt is turning out.

When I started the plan was to create a total of 16 blocks, add a border and call it good.  With borders added it would have measured only about 50 inches square, not a very useful size for anything beyond a nursing home quilt, and I was wanting to keep this one.  So, a decision was made to make an additional 8 blocks which would have made it about 50 x 70 or so.  Too narrow.  Moving forward to the newest version, I think I'll add one additional block to the width which should bring it to a nice throw or single bed size depending on how large the border(s) become.

As of now, this is how it's shaping up.  These blocks represent what I'd planned as the original size.

Even with all the planned additional blocks, the pile of blue strings will not be depleted when I'm finished, not even close.  A possible encore might be Chinese Coins.  I've been wanting to try making one of those for quite awhile.  Linking my current progress with Lori at Humble Quilts who is graciously hosting this stringalong challenge.

Meanwhile, I was the happy winner of a recent giveaway from Jocelyn at Happy Cottage Quilter.  What an amazing array of goodies!

I kept a couple items for my stash, notably the Thangles which I've never used before.  Took the remaining items to quilt ministry last week to share with the group, and everything was snapped up in less than five minutes!  Thank you so much Jocelyn, from all of us!

A few days ago my quilting buddy Lois and I ventured out to the Finger Lakes area for a bit of yard sale fun as well as plant buying.  When we were finished her Mini-Cooper was filled to capacity, mostly with plants but also a few other treasures.  My yard sale finds - totaling $4.50.

I'm especially loving the half-a-hoop, and have put it to use already! 

It came with the original label attached, apparently never used, though I think it must be at least 20 years old, possibly more. 

That discarded metal tape measure found at the first yard sale we visited will find another life in an upcoming project - stay tuned!

We visited a new-to-me quilt shop, though being on a self-imposed fabric budget I only picked up these fat quarters.  Next time ...

But best of all, among the plant purchases, my favorite, which took up quite a bit of space in the back of the car, those geraniums flower clusters are softball size, and now the focal point of our small back porch.

So happy to see this when looking out the kitchen or laundry room windows, hope I can keep it looking as good as it is now.

And that's about it from my little corner of the world.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Utility Stitching ...

About 40 years ago, when the world and I were much younger, I spent a couple semesters learning hand weaving, and eventually got a loom.  One of the first warps loaded onto that loom was about 20 yards long, a fairly thin cotton in random gold/brown colored stripes, with a thick white cotton weft from which I wove a sequence of placemats until that warp was used up, then reloaded the loom with green and light yellow stripes and wove more.  Gave many away, but kept about ten for our household use.  They've been in service all these years.

Now, those who know me well know that I'm a make-do, use-it-up, wear-it-out kind of gal.  But really ... after nearly 40 years and who knows how many times through the wash ...

There are several in this condition, and more that will be within the next few months.  One has a huge ink stain on it (?)  Sheesh!  Now the only reason the one in the photo is still here is that my dear hubby won't let me throw it out!  I made it, therefore it should last forever, right?  Hmm, I don't think so.  Even I won't be putting that on the table again!

Being at loose ends (read funk) in the quilting room, I'd been eyeing all the small totes and swiffer boxes filled with leftover triangles and HST blocks left over from a number of projects.  The one that has hung around the longest revealed two sizes of leftover pieces from my basket-making fun a couple years back.  There were enough of the larger triangles to make hourglass squares for three new placemats.  Or, stretching the definition just quite a bit, mini or small quilts.  Albeit with large piecing. Without further ado, here they are. Ditch quilted, and bound with some leftover pieces of older bias-cut plaid bindings gleaned from yet another swiffer refill box.

My camera was totally unable to reproduce the pretty creams and tans of the lighter triangles and most are quite washed out in these photos.

This third mat will probably go on the little bistro table on the back porch where I love to have my mid-morning latte on warm days. 

The backs of all three are from a couple pieces of a cute fabric line with teapots. 

At quilt ministry last week I pinned a large 84 inch square quilt, destined for this year's auction.  It has sat folded next to the Janome since last Tuesday, for some reason I can't work up the energy or kick my quilting mojo into high gear to even begin quilting it.   These wonky little placemats are all I have to show for a week's worth of stitching.  There are three more large quilts all cut out awaiting piecing, a king size (Quilty 365) in the hoop, Westering Women and the Christmas Stars tops hang in the closet awaiting their turn, along with a mini for another month, and on it goes.   I do hope this lethargy passes soon, it definitely doesn't help my state of mind when the energy level goes this low.
Thinking right now how good a pot of salted caramel black tea would taste.

Maybe I'll finish my string blocks for this month and then get started on quilting the latest beast.  In a couple days.  First though I may just stitch up another couple placemats.  Simple utility sewing can be kind of fun sometimes.  Sure beats mending!

Friday, May 10, 2019

A May Finish

Feeling just a wee bit ahead of the game with my One Monthly Goal finished so early in the month!  My goal was to finish this comfort quilt for a young boy in our area who is suffering complications from Lyme disease.  It has been delivered to him and hopefully he loves it as much as I loved making it for him.

The morning after the binding was stitched we awoke to a lovely hazy sunshine, sometimes perfect for outdoor photos.  So, even before my morning cuppa I whisked it outside for a few shots.

Sadly my lack of coffee must have had something to do with my shaky hands that morning as most of the outside shots turned out rather blurry.   And, the ground was wet from rain the previous evening so by the time we came back inside the quilt headed right for the washer and me for the coffee pot!

When the quilt was dry, we tried again, this time inside.

Quilting was mostly simple outlining of some of the major elements in each block, loopy meander around the solid block borders, and meandering of the large 10-inch outer border.

A couple close-ups:

And a look at the back - I love this print, reminds me so much of my own childhood back in the 50s when things like decoder rings, rocket ships, comic books and science kits were all the rage.

And with that, I'll wish you all a lovely weekend!  Linking with Wendy's Peacock Party.  I'll link with Patty at Elm Street Quilts when her One Monthly Goal linky party opens later this month.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

One Monthly Goal for May

Around the middle of April our quilt ministry learned of a little 7-year-old boy who is chronically ill with the effects of Lyme Disease that has attacked many of his major organs.  I felt strongly called to offer some comfort through a quilt from our ministry.  Somehow I feel an urgency about this one, though I don't know why, but it immediately jumped to the top of the playlist.  Thus was my latest squirrel to enter my little sewing space and wreak general havoc on the best-laid plans of mice and quilters.

First, a little design wall play with some block layout possibilities.

And a finished top.

Fabrics are from two older In The Beginning lines, Catkin and Folklorica, gleaned from my stash and a donation to the quilt ministry a couple years back.   The size ended up being square to accommodate my remaining  Catkin border fabric from a grandson's quilt made back in 2012.

I'm using very simple meandering and outline machine quilting on the Janome to finish this off.
Quilting is progressing more slowly due to a couple of family emergencies, but I hope to get the quilting completed and a binding cut and sewn on in the next week or two, and that is my One Monthly Goal for May.   Linking with Patty at Elm Street Quilts for the May Goal-Setting Linkup.  Thanks Patty for keeping us inspired and on track each month!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Stringalong Progress

First up, my string progress for April.  I had every intention of completing my four blocks for April well before the month ended, yet this was the state of things last evening before closing up shop for the night.
There was more out of camera range ...

This morning the block segments were trimmed and added to the design wall in no particular order, but not stitched together yet.  At this point I think I'll leave them unstitched until all the segments are sewn (another 3 months) in case some need to be moved around for a more pleasing arrangement.  

Month 3 blocks

All blocks made thus far, looking a bit oddly weird with that bit of space 
between the top row and April's unsewn segments

Linking up with Lori at Humble Quilts 2019 Stringalong.   Only three more months until I can start thinking about borders for this quilt.  A piano key outer border maybe?  There are plenty more strings where these came from - the blue strings are multiplying in volume rather than decreasing!  How does that happen?

Meanwhile, I'll leave you with a sneak peek at the project/squirrel that inserted itself into the quilty lineup mid-month, and is taking center stage until its completion, very soon I hope.  This little squirrel is going to a deserving cause, so it's all good.