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.