Monday, December 28, 2020

December's Mini quilt

 December's mini used up the last of all the cut-off flippy points of the stars from last year's Christmas quilt, below

Here's December's mini

which very closely resembles last January's mini

and February's 

Now the swiffer box of tiny red and white triangles is emptied, as well as all those much-loved  bits of Quaker red prints used in the borders of each of the minis.  I'll link this post with Wendy at The Constant Quilter when she posts her month-end roundup of mini quilts.  Thanks Wendy for another year of fun little quilts!

Now, on to the new year ahead!  

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Quilty Quarantining

 Ah, quarantining for 24 days - what to do but quilt!  It seems this enforced seclusion has jump-started my quilting mojo again and for the past few days I've been piecing this top.  A second version of a quilt made for our church camp auction last year which was named April in Paris.  This version I'm calling "Younger than Springtime" in a nod to the Rodgers and Hammerstein song of the same name featured in the musical South Pacific.

Younger than springtime are you
Softer than starlight are you
Warmer than winds of June
Are the gentle lips you gave me
Gayer than laughter are you
Sweeter than music are you
Sunlight and moon beans
Heaven and earth
Are you to give me
And when your youth and joy
Invade my soul
And fill my heart
As now they do, then
Younger than springtime am I
Gayer than laughter am I
Sunlight and moon beans
Heaven and earth
Am I with you

Easy peasy piecing, basically large 4-patch blocks which are then sliced and diced with sashing inserted.
Design is a slightly altered version of a pattern featured in Love of Quilting by Tony Jacobson called All Inked Up.  My version used a slightly smaller block size in order to accommodate the size of some of my favorite fabric scraps, especially this one which was the inspiration for the general mood of this quilt.

A few more close-ups of the springtime inspired fabrics:

A couple other small tops completed at quilt ministry before we went on covid/holiday hiaitus, these are still awaiting sandwiching for simple machine quilting:

Super-scrappy happy blocks quilt for nursing home:

and a simple row baby quilt:

I need to stop photographing tops on that gray carpet on cloudy days, the colors in both of these are much nicer than you see here.  Maybe some outdoor photos when they're finished.  Anyway, these three bring the total of completed tops awaiting machine quilting to four, very soon to be five as another donation quilt top is in the works.  

We weren't lucky enough to see the "Christmas Star" the past two nights as our skies were overcast.  The forecast calls for heavy rain tomorrow followed by a lake effect snowstorm on Christmas Day.  Sounds like perfect weather for a crockpot turkey breast with all the trimmings.  

til next time, happy quilting!

Monday, December 14, 2020

A little charlie brown Christmas wallhanging

Speaking of hanging, we're hanging in there (or is that hanging out here) in a state of suspended animation, the dreaded virus having come to pay a visit.  Hubby was tested for it last week Monday and we learned the test was positive late afternoon on Thursday.  He is doing very well, no real symptoms beyond the first couple days, no fever whatsoever, no cough or congestion, etc.  However, he is quarantined until the 16th, but my quarantine has to extend 14 days beyond that.  So, though I'll be freed from house arrest in time for New Years Eve, there's nowhere to go anyway!  It is a rather weird feeling that even though we had no plans to go anywhere, now that we can't it just seems very strange.  Very thankful we have some acreage so we can get outside when we want to.  

So, the Christmas decorations are all up, the demon kitten hasn't (yet) knocked the Christmas tree over though awhile ago he tipped over my floor hoop holding Quilty 365 and has mastered the art(?) of climbing the drapes.  The outside tree and the big star over the barn are lit, freezer and frig well stocked except for eggs, and all is well in our little universe.   

Looking w-a-y more innocent than his drapery-climbing adventures would suggest ...

Over the weekend I finally got out a smallish Christmas panel and made a futile effort to straighten it. The entire panel was printed off grain and even the margins around the blocks could not be coerced into a true rectangular shape.  Added a narrow border, gave it a quick overall quilting and it now hangs in all its humble charlie brown Christmas glory on the door to my sewing room.

One more bit of fabric out of my stash and now in the finished column!   A close-up showing the quilting, Jester's Hat that we learned during the 2012 FMQ Challenge.  

It's snowing lightly now, and we're due to receive 4-6 inches later in the week from the storm currently in the midwest.  This is what it looked like just before dark. The birds are happy. Winter is upon us.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Christmas Quilt Finished

 So happy to say the final stitch was added to this quilt shortly after noon today.  And it was a cold but sunny day with wind gusts upwards of 30 mph, but what could be better than an outdoor photo shoot?

Our snow from earlier this week still persists in the shady areas of the yard and on the hillsides above us. But so good to feel the sun on your back and see blue skies.

I'm generally pleased with how this quilt has turned out, wonky machine and hand quilting notwithstanding.  Since the fabrics had not been washed before construction, the shrinkage should make any wobbles far less obvious, I hope.  And anyway this year who will see it up close and personal  except the two of us?  

I ditch quilted all the major seams and around each of the green squares, then did a bit of free motion quilting in the light triangle corners.  After that was finished the binding was attached in an attempt to stop the batting from shredding any further.  The binding took quite a bit longer than usual with all those points at the outer edges but I think overall I managed to not lose too many.

After the binding, the quilt was put in my hoop and a bit of hand quilting ensued, inside each of the 66 red squares.  Big stitch quilting with Aurifil 12 wt. thread and done at last.


The biggest disappointment and worry with this quilt is the batting I used.  A couple years ago someone gave me an older 100% cotton batting by Fairfield called Soft Touch.  The stuff shredded at the outer edges during the quilting process and the needle and thread moving through the quilt also brought up numerous tiny puffs of cotton on both the front and back of the quilt.  After binding and before doing the hand quilting I ran a lint roller over both sides to try to clean it up, using 6 sheets of the sticky roller material.  It looks nearly as bad now, with just the additional handling during hand quilting.  Hoping after washing it shrinks up a bit and tightens all the stitching holes enough so that the batting stays where it belongs.  I'd definitely not recommend this batting for any quilt with dark fabrics...

And here is the back
An odd choice for a Christmasy quilt, I know, but this fabric has been languishing in my stash for several years and just needed to come out and play.  And so it has, and I love it, though those tiny white puffs of batting showed up even more on this side while it was being quilted. 

So, for the rest of December it's play time!  There's a small 12 Days of Christmas panel in the stash that I might layer and machine quilt; we also could use a few new placemats, and there are several small swiffer boxes with leftover HST's for scrappy fun.  And in the evening it's back to hand quilting Sing the Blues, which by my guess is about half done now.  Not much chance it will be finished before the end of the year, but maybe a first finish for the new year?

Til next time, I hope you're enjoying some pre-holiday stitching, taking things slow and easy.  

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Mini Minis for November

 November being one of those shorter months, with holiday and all the pre-pre-Christmas preparations, my monthly minis are small and simple.  

Building on October's mini which was my 50 Shades of Brown turned hot-dish mat, I made two smaller matching mats.  All are intended for my son and DIL's Christmas gift, as they have a brand new kitchen and requested some mats for their island.

I made several more, even more simple, some with minimal to no piecing involved, here is just one.  I ended up with a few extra yards of this fabric due to the online shop's cutting error when they didn't want the too-small piece returned.  I've loved this fabric since first seeing it back in 2012 or 2013, and have made gift placemat sets for several people.  There's just about enough left for two more placemats for us, if and when I get around to it.  

and the back, from scrappy strips.  

Each of these particular hot pads/potholders measures about 8 inches square.

I'll link to Wendy's month-end mini roundup at The Constant Quilter when she publishes her post.

Til next time, happy quilting!

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Giving Thanks

 Thankful for all our blessings, including this newest addition, a "country drop-off" that wandered into our hearts and home a couple weeks ago.  Eleven weeks old, Samson is small but mighty!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2020

The Final Four, and More

 Here we are at the beginning of Thanksgiving Week in this strangely disjointed world in which we find ourselves.  I hope you all are remaining well and have adopted the best motto I've found for our current situation - Faith Over Fear!  

I'm happy to report that yesterday I completed the final four sunflower blocks for my Diamond Jubilee Quilt, and that completes my One Monthly Goal for November.  I'm linking this post with Patty at Elm Street Quilts here.  So, here are the last sunflowers, definitely not perfect but best effort.  I'm counting on a nice lofty wool batting to fill out any little wobblies and wrinkles when this is finally quilted.  Optimist that I am ...

And here are all 13 sunflowers on the design wall, sorry about the darkness of the photo, our days have been mostly cloudy/rainy lately.

The next step will be finding background fabrics for each block and making a final decision on what method to use to applique these sunflowers to their respective backgrounds.  That will come in January since there's a lot of holiday stitching and other preparations to attend to first.  

And, speaking of holiday stitching, a couple years ago I inherited a UFO from a quilty friend.  She had begun making the blocks for a quilt called Holly and Mistletoe, found in Barb Adams & Alma Allen's book When the Cold Wind Blows.  My friend is usually a fearless applique enthusiast, but after making a stack of the square-in-square blocks and seeing the hundreds of holly leaves and berries needing hand applique that remained to be done, she decided to abandon the project.  Here's the original quilt, photographed from my copy of the book:

While I love this gorgeous quilt, and who wouldn't, I've found my eyesight difficulties make a large-scale hand applique project out of the question.  So the KISS principle was applied and the blocks were stitched into columns separated by plain strippy sashings and this throw quilt eventually began to emerge.

And here is the completed flimsy, throw quilt size at 56x67 inches.  I had originally planned to add borders to bring it to a larger size, but the quilt said no way - and nothing I tried looked good. The quilt had spoken, and who am I to argue, so after machine quilting this will just receive a green binding and done, hopefully before Christmas.

Various little holiday gift projects are ongoing, as well as my evening hand quilting of Sing the Blues MamaLou.  No current photo, but this one is progressing nicely and I've reached block 19 of 30. I'd love to have this one in the finished column by the end of the year, but January or February is far more likely. And my now oldest WIP, Quilty 365 lingers in the floor hoop, but it is DEFINITELY next on my list of hand quilted projects to be finished.  

Well, supper preparation beckons and I'll close by wishing you all a happy, healthy Thanksgiving celebration!  

Monday, November 2, 2020

One Monthly Goal for November


It's time once again to link up with Patty at Elm Street Quilts for our November Goal Setting.  

This post will be short and sweet.  November is a short month, made even more so with the Thanksgiving holiday and the first of non-stop family birthdays that will continue through the end of February.

So, my goal is to finish creating the final four Sunflower blocks that will make up the center of my Diamond Jubilee Quilt.  Here's a sneak peek.

I just noticed the blue flying geese in Patty's November OMG logo - guess what comes next in this extravaganza??

To see what others are hoping to achieve this month, go to the link above or here.

Til next time, happy quilting from snowy WNY where we anticipate 70 degree weather again in about one week's time!  

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

50 Shades of Autumn is a Monthly Mini!

 I finished quilting and binding my 50 Shades of Autumn this afternoon.  This is my version of the Humble Quilts fall quilt-along this year.  Thanks Lori for an easy and fun design!

I'm happy with this little finish, from all the browns on the front, to the wonderful backing fabric found in my stash from unknown years ago.  It's from a collection called Nature Studies by Benartex.

And I love the binding fabric, with just barely enough to complete this quilt with a narrow strip left over.  It too is an older print, and seemed to blend well with both the front and back of the quilt.

I machine quilted the front to an all-cotton batting, and the back was separately quilted to a layer of insul-brite, and the layers united only by the batting.  I think this method will make it a good hot dish mat as requested by my son and DIL for Christmas.  They wanted one large enough to hold a lasagne pan on their new countertop.  Hopefully there will be time to make a couple of large potholder-side mats to coordinate.  There are plenty of brown scraps around here, as well as a little over half yard of that backing fabric.  

I'll link this post with Wendy at The Constant Quilter when she posts her end of the month mini round-up!  Thanks Wendy for hosting this fun event every month.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

One Monthly Goal and a Finish!

This week I completed my One Monthly Goal for October which was to finish 4 more sunflower blocks for my Diamond Jubilee Quilt.  This brings my total to nine blocks!  Here are the newest four:

I'll link this post with Patty at Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal Finish link-up, where you can see what many other quilters have accomplished during October.  Thanks Patty for continuing to host this fun goal-setting activity each month!

This afternoon I finished binding my Joseph's Coat quilt and can now put that one in the finished column - yay!  The dog and I braved the cold almost-November gray, dank and windy afternoon in an effort to get some finished photos, with only minimal luck.  

The outer borders could have been improved upon if only there had been more of that wonderful batik that I'd also used in the alternate vertical strips.  There wasn't, and the black batik inserts at top and bottom were necessary to stretch what little was left.  It doesn't look as goofy in person as it does in the photos, thankfully!

I chose this cheery almost tropical print from Connecting Threads for the back.  I love the way the colors of the hand quilting add to the fun of this back.  I used Aurifil 12 wt. thread in about 15 different colors to quilt this, mostly freehand organic lines except for the bright yellow alternate strips where I used a stencil.  

A closer look at the front.  These batiks really mimic the gorgeous fall colors we saw a few short weeks ago.  As of now a few hillsides still have their late autumn russets and golden brown leaves, all the brighter maples of early fall are now bare except for a few Norway maples in more protected locations.

Helping - not!  When I brought out Joseph's Coat II that was completed earlier this summer the winds had really picked up.  Trying for one good shot of them together.

For the time being both of these quilts will live here, for the grandkids to use for sleepovers, though I'm thinking this new one will have a place of honor on the back of my recliner until it's time to pull out the Christmas quilt.  Snow in the western states this weekend, hopefully will stay far far away from us for at least a few more weeks!  Til next time, happy quilting!

p.s.  I'm going to try Barbara's trick at Cat Patches and leave the first comment, and check off the box to send all followup comments to my email, since Blogger seems to have forgotten how to do it.  If I've missed replying to anyone's comments recently, my apologies!