Friday, January 31, 2020

A January Finish

The end of January already, and it turned out to be a rather productive month.  The quilt I started for my friend is now finished, ready to be gifted as soon as they can safely descend from their mountaintop home (the warmer weather has made their old logging trail impassable due to mud).   Anyway, here it is, looking not so different from the top posted earlier, just finished.

Machine quilted with the simple meandering leaf and loop design we learned in our first 2012 FMQ Challenge lesson.  Still one of my favorites because I can actually keep the meander going for a bit before running into a corner or border!

The piano key borders are ditch quilted, no close-ups, my free-motion was pretty shaky on those! At least the thread blended well with the darker colors so they're not too obnoxious (or obvious) I hope.

The batting was a cotton Pellon from JoAnn.  Shrinkage was more than acceptable in my opinion, and I won't use it again.  Unquilted top was 51 x 70; finished and washed once in cold water delicate cycle and partially dried on delicate cycle, the finished size is now 66 x 48-3/4".   Four inches in length on a 70 inch quilt seems out of line somehow.  Especially since it wasn't quilted heavily. Live and learn, I guess.

Til next time, sunny days and happy quilting!

Sunday, January 26, 2020

One Monthly Goal - January Progress

This month my One Monthly Goal was to continue hand quilting my Westering Women quilt with the hope of completing all the blocks and perhaps begin work on the outer borders/edge.  As of today I've almost completed that goal and am on target to finish the remaining row by the end of January, which will take me well into the top border.  I'm posting my progress now because I'll no doubt forget to link up by the end of the week!

So, here's where I am as of this afternoon.  The front, where I hope to finish off the bear paw block in the upper right with tonight's quilting session:

Here's what the back looks like, the color is closer to true on the left side of the photo, although there are two slightly different light yellow prints on the back, accounting for some of the color change.  I'm loving the texture the combination of wool batting and Baptist fan quilting are giving the quilt.  The lone rogue block on the back is one that turned out too large for the front - waste not!

Linking up with Patty at Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal January Finish post. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

January Mini or There's More Than One Red Holiday!

As you might recall last November I finally finished our very first Christmas quilt,
and every one of those 30 stars had eight flippy points, translating to 240 leftover tiny triangle squares!

So, what to do but start stitching some of them together.  January seems to be a clean-out month for a few of the swiffer boxes of scraps that are underfoot, littering piling up in every spare spot on shelves, under tables, etc.  And so was born this little table topper, just in time for the next red holiday in mid-February.

At just a bit over 13 inches square this is one of my smallest minis, other than a few mug rugs and potholders.  Simply machine quilted in the ditch with a wavy machine stitch in the border, it finished up fairly quickly.  And the bonus being I got to use a few more hoarded scrappy strips of my vintage Quaker Reds for the borders.  There are just a few small bits left now for another scrappy project.

I love the back as much as the front of this little quilt, a leftover piece from a fat quarter of a 2009 In the Beginning print by Jason Yenter.
Especially this little scenic vignette:

So, this used up 36 of the 240 triangle squares - guess what's coming up for February!

After reading Wendy's (The Constant Quilter) and Cynthia's (Wabi-sabi Quilts) posts earlier today about their tree blocks for Australian fire victims, I was inspired to create one to send along.  Since the blocks are being requested by the Wollongong Modern Quilt Guild in New South Wales, I attempted to make something a bit ad hoc and improv, or at least a reasonable facsimile!  Here's the block I'll be sending along in a few days:

Since modern really isn't my forte, and I was working with fairly narrow background strips, the piecing got wild and wooly toward the end, and all the white edges are on bias.  They've been stay-stitched to keep everything in place, and after starching and giving it a final press amazingly everything laid flat and square. There's a dark strip of green print at the bottom which may or may not be visible in the photo depending on your monitor as the photo was taken after dark.   I may try again tomorrow and see if I can improve the improv in a second block.

If you are interested in joining in and making a tree block for this cause, more information can be found here:

Linking with Wendy's Peacock Party, and I'll also link with Wendy at The Constant Quilter when she posts her monthly mini round-up next week.

Friday, January 10, 2020

First Top of 2020

By day three of the new year my plans for January were flipped upside down, and resulted in stitching up this top for a comfort quilt.  I didn't mind the change of plans too much, because the quilt will be for a good friend who is recovering from her most recent heart incident.  She is just a couple months shy of 86 years young, so it's about time she had a warm colorful quilt to wrap up in. 

Here's the completed top.  My friend loves birds and so the panel and cornerstones will please her.
A little more about my friend.  She and her husband live off-the-grid at the top of a mountain about 15 or so miles from us.  Their power comes from a combination of solar panels and a small windmill, their heat is natural gas piped through the woods in some sort of suspended plastic pipe from a neighboring gas well about 1/4 mile away.  There are many old gas wells in this area, long ago abandoned by the industry because of low production, but useful for a number of our friends who live in the mountains.   Being on the mountain top they have no well, and depend on a cistern to capture rain and snow for their water supply.  Access to their lovely home is via a long-abandoned logging road, full of hairpin turns and sharp drop-offs along the side.  There are periods of time (prolonged rain or when conditions are icy as they are today) when they are literally stranded on their mountain-top.  They were fortunate that when her latest heart episode occurred they were able to travel into town to our local hospital for transport to the city hospital nearly 100 miles away where she had a pacemaker implanted.  She is now making a great recovery, an amazing woman of unwavering faith who regularly shares her testimonies with others in our church family. 

The backing has been pieced, and I'll plan to layer and pin the quilt at our ministry meeting next week, and hopefully complete the machine quilting and binding in a week or two.   Finished top measures 51x70 inches, a nice size for a throw quilt for her chair or sofa. 

A closer look.  Many scraps from both quilt ministry and my stash were used for the piano key border.  I think there are 24 or 25 different fabrics used. 

Linking with Wendy's Peacock Party here.   And wishing you all a happy quilting weekend!

Friday, January 3, 2020

One Monthly Goal - January Link-up

Here we are at day three of the new decade and my quilting plans for the next week are already derailed, but in a good way.  A quick comfort quilt is in the works for a  friend who is making a good recovery from recent surgery.  I'll post more about that when there is something substantial to show.

Meanwhile, I'm planning to participate in  Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal again this year.  It's such a great motivator and Patty does a fabulous job coordinating everything each month.  Kudos to her!!

For January, I'm hoping to complete the hand quilting of the remaining blocks of my Westering Women quilt, and to at least begin quilting the edges of the borders.  I think there's a good chance of achieving this as it is big stitch quilting.  I'm really looking forward to completing this quilt soon as it's the first time I've used wool batting and it would be nice to give it a good test run before spring!

A couple photos of yesterday's progress.  This first one is under the daylight lamp I use while hand quilting in the evening.

The colors are a little more true, only slightly darker than actual, in the ambient room lighting of this second photo.

You can check out everyone's January goals here.   Thanks for coordinating the One Monthly Goal again this year Patty!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Thoughts on a New Year and a New Decade

Jenny of Elefantz recently posted a scripture that deeply resonated with me, causing me to reflect on this, the beginning of a 9th decade that I've been on this earth (though my first decade was only four years in length).  So many quilters choose a word to reflect their aspirations for the new year.  Where better to find a word than from The Word.

"The righteous flourish ...
planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God.
They still bear fruit in old age;
they are ever full of sap and green."
Psalm 92:12-14 

And there it is - flourish.  Even with advancing years, fading vision and stiffening joints, we can still bear fruit.  Through our words, our actions, and our faith, we can continue to live abundantly and to bless others with the work of our hands.  And though our stitching may at times stray from perfectly even and straight, our seams occasionally a bit wobbly, we can still bear fruit through the quilts we make and give, that can bring comfort and warmth to a friend or stranger who needs to feel a bit of love during a time of loss, illness or distress.   

So this year my hope is to want less and give more, to focus on what is real and true and not the chaos that surrounds us, to appreciate the little things that make a life - to flourish

And, because this is a quilting blog and quilting blogs need photos, here's a sneak peek at what's been happening in my very messy sewing room today - and, no, I'm not planning to spend a week organizing - gave up those kind of resolutions years ago -it's futile anyway!

Looking a bit Christmasy you say?  Hmm.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, and joyful New Year!