Wednesday, April 29, 2020

One last April Finish

Earlier this month with all the epi-panic-isolation-orders-stay-home edicts, the thought went through my head one sleepless night (and haven't we all had those this month) that if I should contract the virus and leave everything behind, what quilt would I most regret not having made/finished.  Morbid, I know, but ...   And the answer was my three-year-old grandson's big-boy bed quilt.  So, three weeks later, start to finish, here it is, not the most original of design or the fanciest, but after all it's going to a rough and tumble three year old!

The sun broke through around 8:30 this morning  and the temperatures were above freezing!

and just a bit closer view:

The dog wanted in on the act:

It was such a nice morning that we took a little walkabout on the property.  Want to come along?

Can you tell not much is in bloom besides the daffs?!!

But then there's this - overwintered in our little sunroom, looking better than it did all last summer - go figure!

And thus endeth April, and good riddance I say.  And on with the bright new blossoms of May!

Monday, April 27, 2020

Mini Post with a Monthly Mini

It must be nearing the end of this interminable month since I'm seeing the beginning of monthly mini quilts being posted. Wendy at the Constant Quilter encourages us every month with a beautiful mini (or several) of her own, and I'll link to her end of the month post when that comes online.

My mini for the month was actually begun sometime back in 2012 during the Free Motion Quilting Challenge hosted by SewCalGal.  This tiny offering was the better part of a practice piece done that year, now cut down and bound for a 6 inch square mug rug.

The reverse side

I'm happy that a few of the best of the practice pieces from that challenge were saved, albeit in a plastic bag on the floor of the closet, since this kind of intricate free motion quilting is a thing of the past for me.  These days free motion quilting consists of following marked stencils or very forgiving meandering which tend to be easier for my eyes and sore wrists. 

So glad this April of Our Discontent is drawing to a close.  May we all be blessed with open businesses and an abundance of warm sunshine in the coming month!

The ultimate morning comfort food - the daily latte

Friday, April 24, 2020

April One Monthly Goal and other Progress

April OMG link-up is open!

Time to link up with Patty at Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal for April.  My goal this month was a simple one, to get final borders added to my Sherbet Jumble quilt top.  And here they are:

And a bit closer.  Photos taken on yet another dreary, rainy April day.  Too warm for snow, although we're expecting 2-3 inches (again) on Sunday, in a sad continuation of the spring that never was.

I think that narrow raspberry stop border livens things up a bit.  I like it. 

The top finished at 75 x 88-1/2 inches.  While waiting for my batting order to arrive I'll go through the stash totes and find something that will work for a backing.  I'm planning to machine quilt this one since it will eventually become a donation quilt.

In other quilty news, the HST "ribbons" have become a finished top for an eventual table topper. 

The red floral fabric was just barely enough to manage the narrow sashings and stop border.  The top looked OK at that point but a bit smaller than I had hoped.  Then I discovered this outer border fabric, so sweetly old-fashioned looking, and there was exactly 10-1/2 inches by WOF.  Just enough for a border with only a scrap left over.  Love when that happens! 

This little top measures 28-1/2 inches square.  I'm leaning toward hand quilting this one, again need to find a backing and see if there are any scrap pieces of batting that are large enough. 

Friday night fish fries are a western New York institution that we love.  We're fortunate to have a small restaurant in our tiny village about 3-1/2 miles from home that has a wonderful fish fry, with the option of several types of potato, 4 different ways they can prepare the fish, and a really yummy cole slaw.  They offer take out or delivery service and have managed to remain open in these trying times.  We do our best to support the few small businesses in our area.  And the icing on the cake is no cooking or clean-up afterward required! 

I hope you are all doing well weathering this storm, and keeping the hope of summer's sunshine to allow us back outside our homes once again. 

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Of Blizzards, Blursdays, and Borrowing

Yesterday the late afternoon weather bulletin indicated snow was heading our way, and indeed this morning we awoke to about 3 inches of fluffy white, and 15 degrees!!  The daffodils that had already opened looked very sad, and I fear for everything else that is just beginning to leaf out. 

Cynthia at Wabi-Sabi Quilts nailed it yesterday when she called those nondescript days between Sunday and Saturday "Blursdays."  Seems we don't know the date, the day of the week, or even month of the year if looking out the window at the continuing snow is any indication.  I made a solo trip to the church to layer and pin the grandson's quilt top late this morning, and the visibility on the way home was less than a quarter mile with the heavy blowing snow.  The temperature had moderated to a balmy 28 degrees however.

Inside the sewing room this week, I've been rummaging through all the bits and bobs stashed in every corner and at the bottom of the closet.  Found a bag with several saved pieces of old FMQ practice pieces, nothing special but a bit too nice to be thrown away.  So, those have been trimmed down to eliminate the worst parts and into roughly rectangular or square shape, scrappy binding found and they're ready for finishing off.  Photos to come.

Then Grace at Citymousequilter posted earlier this week an intriguing way to set HST's, and heaven knows I have a ton of those stored in swiffer boxes around here.  It took an entire afternoon and beginning to stitch them together before I totally had the hang of which way each one should be turned, but here is the first iteration on the design wall, awaiting stitching.

Fun, yes?  Since taking the photo I've added a couple more rows at the bottom so the resulting little quilt will be a bit longer than wide.  I commented on Grace's blog post that I wanted to "borrow" the design, and she replied that she herself had borrowed it, so I'm not sure who may have originally designed this layout.  I do like it though, and it could make some fairly quick and easy donation quilts with larger HSTs when we're finally able to restart our quilting ministry.  Our governor has just extended New York's stay-at-home order to May 15, so it won't be anytime soon, sadly. 

I hope you are all faring well as we continue along this bumpy road.  As I watched the poor woman in the grocery store this morning in her attempt to obey the latest mandate to wear masks in public places, I think I should try to resume making face coverings to pass out to those in need.  Hers was made of two layers of netting and held onto her face with strips cut from (now banned in our state) plastic grocery bags!  Two weeks ago I was the only person wearing a mask while grocery shopping, this morning nearly everyone in the store was wearing one. 

Stay safe, stay well, and above all stay positive!!   

Friday, April 10, 2020

A big-boy quilt in the making

Still trying to stay focused and busy, and now that it's been snowing and blowing for the past two days, I'm feeling more like winter is settling in again, though far too early.  Maybe we will come to know this as the Spring that Never Was. 

It seems our three-year-old grandson has finally decided that it was far past time for him to be climbing out of his crib, and mom and dad are now getting used to the fact that there is no more containing this little adventurer.  It was always a mystery to me that he hadn't climbed out of his crib before this, because heaven knows he's been dancing on the dining room table and climbing everything else since he was around 18 months old.  Anyhow, the time has come for this guy to have his own special big-boy-bed quilt.  So, this is what I worked on this week when not hand quilting on Quilty 365 and Joseph's Coat II:

Quilt top finished:  check

Piece backing, and prepare binding:  check

Cut fabrics for coordinating pillowcase:  check

Tomorrow's job will be trying to interpret the instructions saved a few years ago for a "burrito pillowcase."  I recall they are not difficult to make, though the instructions failed to totally click when I read through them quickly this afternoon. 

Quilting this will have to wait until I'm able to find a good batting sale again, hopefully in a month or so. 

My blogging buddy Lizzy at Gone to the Beach always has such fun posts featuring her seasonal decorations, and her latest post nudged me to at least attempt a bit of springtime/Easter decoration around here.  So tonight I dug out a couple of vintage embroidered table runners to brighten the dining room for the next few days.

Yeah, other than Christmas we don't do much seasonal decorating.  The only bunny in the house is a stuffed one that our dog dearly loves, so it 'decorates' the living room floor along with his other stuffed animals most days!  Thinking about bunnies reminded me when my son was around a year old I made him a large stuffed bunny with fake fur, pink felt lining his floppy ears and all.  Can't recall what I used to make the bunny's tail.  Wonder if that still exists, will have to ask the kids this weekend.

Wishing you all a very Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Finding my Focus

Like so many others, these past few weeks have been ones of unrest, worry, and inability to focus.  And I for one refuse to call this a 'new normal' for it doesn't bear any semblance of normalcy in the lives of any of us.

I've been missing my evening big-stitch quilting in the hand-held hoop while watching reruns of NCIS LA and a couple other favorite shows.  There has been nothing in that hoop since Westering Women was finished last month.  And, though I've been making a bit of daily progress on my gigantic Quilty 365 project, it is too large to move into the living room on the floor hoop stand (because that's where the dog and his rambunctious master play), and the quilt is just too large to easily work with the hand-held hoop.

One day last week I made a solo trip to our church to use the fellowship hall tables to pin Joseph's Coat I and II in hopes of getting them machine quilted and finished this month.  The more I looked at them, the more I knew at least one really needed to be hand quilted, just as much as I needed to have an evening project!  Remember this Joseph's Coat II top from last summer?

After hooping it up, I went in search of a good thread that would blend with all the colors, and found these which I had set aside after winning the little set from Wendy at Wendy's Quilts and More, probably more than a year ago.  

I'd actually forgotten about them, but aren't they just perfect?! Just waiting for the right project!

This is going to be such fun, and so relaxing, just organic unmarked straight(ish) lines and stitches just a bit wobbly.  Seems my eye is such that I can't keep stitches straight anymore, no matter how hard I try.  But the resulting hand quilted texture will hide all the irregularities. Definitely not quilt show-worthy, but meant to be fun quilts for the younger grands to snuggle under when they stay over at our house again, hopefully by this summer.

Some of my first evening's progress from yesterday:

And this was all it took to give me back a bit of my energy and focus!  No rush, no deadlines to have these two completed, just some blissful hand work to erase all the daily tension and worry.  (Can you tell I've already pretty much decided that Joseph's Coat I will need hand quilting too?)  We quilters don't ask for too much do we?  Probably just as well anyway.

Linking with Wendy's Peacock Party here.

May you have a blessed holy week, and remain safe from the virus.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

April - One Monthly Goal

I've come to the conclusion that the overarching goal for all of us this month is to remain virus-free and pray for an end to this world-wide plague.  To that end, I've spent the last few days of March making some face masks for our small local hospital.  At this point there are 21 for the hospital, 2 for my daughter and boyfriend who are still working at their work site, two for my husband, and I'll be making another two for myself later today.  Some of the ones going to the hospital:

I'd planned to have this top completed by the end of March.  That didn't happen with the face mask project, so wrangling some borders onto this will be my April OMG.  Calling this one Sherbet Jumble, it will be a donation quilt, possibly for the camp auction, if we're able to hold one this year.

I think I'm going with this border option:

These fabrics were part of a lovely gift for our quilt ministry from Lynn at Sew'n Wild Oaks after I was the lucky winner of her recent "name this quilt" giveaway of her book on quilter's math. 

Adding this to the One Monthly Goal April linkup on Patty's Elm Street Quilts blog.  Hoping April isn't as interminably long as March was.