Friday, August 27, 2021

It's Friday and there's a Finish!

 After finishing the baby quilt earlier this month and perusing the bulging closet and general chaos surrounding me, I decided the next big thing needing tackling is the quilt tops awaiting machine quilting. Not to mention the two bed-size hand-quilting projects still currently underway.  So, the "needing machine quilting" tally was 3 bed size and one toddler/young child size quilt.  Then there's another bed size top approaching completion at quilt ministry.  And all the "wanna do" projects list that keeps growing!  I'd really rather start a few new piecing projects than endure the tedium of machine quilting, don't you know!

That said, my nose to the grindstone for the past couple weeks, I finally finished the oldest and largest of the list, the "Lines and Boxes II" quilt, which is nearly a clone of the one finished around three years ago for donation to the annual camp auction.  This is the latest one, which will stay with us as an additional winter quilt when the snow flies.  Shown here on the guest room queen size bed.  It finished at 86x96 inches.  

Quilting this one was more than a tad tedious and hard on the wrists, as it is quilted entirely with diagonal lines, stitched in the ditch on every stinkin' seam!  Or as close to the ditch as my eyes and coordination allowed, lol.

A lot of wonderfully scrappy pieces went into the making of these quilts, both from a few generous donations and my own stash.  My hubby loves the colors and so this will be "his" quilt. 

It has been way too hot and steamy for outside photos, with intermittent thunderstorms and wet ground, so all photos were indoors before the first wash/dry which is happening as I write this. 

Wishing you all a good weekend, and for those in the path of Ida, please be safe!  Til next time, happy stitching!

Monday, August 2, 2021

An Early August Finish

 Another baby quilt finished yesterday.  This one will go to our young neighbors who are expecting a girl next month.  Much happier with this one now that it's quilted with the binding added.  It never ceases to amaze me how the character of a quilt changes with the quilting texture.  Here it is immediately after the binding was added, before its beauty bath with the stencil markings still visible. I've become a huge fan of continuous line stencils for much of my FMQ, especially in sashings and borders, much easier to see what's going on and where to head next.  

No rain today, so we went outside for a few more photos.  

Tried a photo with both the quilt and this gorgeous hydrangea but the bright sunlight washed out the quilt colors.  

In the shade of the maple tree in the front yard. 

And the purple polkadot back, the free motion quilting in the panel squares is more easily visible in these next photos. 

We wandered a bit more before going back inside to prep this morning's blueberry harvest for the freezer.  A few blooming things:

The dog days of August, lol!

And one last photo of the baby quilt across the thrift store rocking chair I found last winter, it reminded me of a photo of myself in a similar chair at my grandparents' farm when I was a toddler.  I painted this one white to more closely resemble the original.
A long time ago:

Have a great day, and don't let the doomsayers destroy your joy!

Monday, July 26, 2021

The End of July - Already??

This month has gone by in a blur, and August will no doubt be the same, with a hopeful harvest of tomatoes, garlic and at least some squash, and more blueberries.  This has been a tough summer for gardeners in these parts with incessant rain for much of the month, flooding, hail damage, etc.

My quilting mojo has been at a low ebb of late, but I did manage one small finish and two more baby/young child quilt tops pieced.  

In the finished department, a baby boy quilt for our quilt ministry, already on its way to its destination, a newborn who is battling several physical issues in the NICU of a nearby city hospital.

Backed with a Peter Rabbit print.

Quick and simple ditch and serpentine machine quilting.
This baby quilt is my 'mini' quilt for the month, since there hasn't been time to create a true mini.

The second project is a baby quilt for our neighbor who is expecting a baby girl sometime in September.  I neglected to take photos when it was in the planning/piecing stage, here it is layered and pin basted, the ditch quilting was started this afternoon.

The soft pinks were difficult for me to photograph accurately especially with the light from the windows.  I had 8 or 9 pinks in my stash, mostly some old-fashioned prints, that I'd thought would work for this one, though they seem to wash out more than I'd like compared with the brights in the panels.  I'm planning on using more of the purple/pink shot cotton for the binding to I hope contain the paleness and keep the whole from fading into nothingness.  Hopefully the dimension added by the quilting will also help.

At the other end of the color spectrum, I was roped into asked if I could make a quick child's quilt last week.  A search of the stash revealed an older circus themed panel  that just begged for some colorful action!  Starting the design process:

And three days later, voila - finished top!  So glad I spent a couple mornings at quilt ministry last spring sewing together all those little leftover HST's from a camp donation quilt of around three years ago.  Perfect for this project!  And there are still more in their swiffer box in the parts department awaiting another project.  The completed top:

Better yet, turns out the quilt is not needed at the moment, so I can enjoy it for awhile until its turn for quilting comes along.  I will say that I am well and truly pleased with this one, it's even better in person than the photos.  And since it's no longer a rush job, hopefully I'll find a great backing fabric for it too.  Though the one from the stash would work just fine, it's just not what I'd like to find for this joyful quilt top.  And apparently it really wants to go to a mystery someone in the future.  It had best make up its mind soon, I think this one will be a difficult one to let go.

And on a closing note, guess who stole the first zucchini squash from the garden?

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

When You Think the Top is Finished ... But It Isn't

 Over the past couple year I've rummaged the stash and scrap bins, hunted down, scrounged, and was gifted some  fabric scraps of black on white, white on black, and as it turns out more than a few with added colors.  All to make a long envisioned black and white triangle quilt using my 60 degree triangle ruler.  

I started cutting the 8" triangles as a reward for working on the quilting of Ruby each afternoon, and by the time she was completed there were enough triangles cut to begin laying them out on the design wall.  My envisioned quilt was to be around 72 inches square, requiring 16 triangles for each horizontal row, and 10 vertical rows.  The design wall is 48 inches wide by about 80 inches high.  Which of course required designing and piecing in three long diagonal sections.   After I had everything stitched together I laid it out on the guest bed.

Oops. You can probably already see the problem, the quilt is wider than it is long.  Apparently in creating the sections I ended up making it 18 triangles wide.   In the scheme of things it ended up to be a fortunate mistake as there were plenty of extra triangles left and it was easy enough to add an extra row to the bottom of the quilt and call it good.  It now measures somewhere around 83x83 inches.  Still deciding whether I'll add a narrow border before machine quilting later this year. At this point the outer edges are stabilized by stitching 1/8 inch from the edges, many of which are on bias.  

I really enjoy working with these large triangles, easy piecing and a fun way to use scraps of  large scale focal, "whatever can I do with this" fabrics. 

 Matching the seams is easy if the seams are pressed open and the little triangle dog ears are left in place to match up. 

I think this quilt will go to one of the grandkids eventually, and there are enough leftover pieces to cut more triangles for a throw size donation quilt or two.

In the garden, the near constant rain over the past two weeks has ruined some of the crops, too late for replanting some of them, the ground is saturated, and the weeds are flourishing.  The blueberries are just beginning to ripen and we're hoping for a couple sunny weeks with much lower humidity so they don't mildew before they ripen completely.  Not too many flowers blooming right now but there are a few lilies

and a little purple poppy - thanks Barbara!

Til next time, happy stitching.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Mini Bird Trap

 For this month's mini I consulted this book for some inspiration  

and came up with this gem, circa 1930, named Bulls-Eye Square.

Shortly after I began piecing my version of the quilt in early June Barbara Brackman had a series of posts  Here and Here including both whole quilts called Housetops and block designs variously called Housetops, Pigpen, Hog pen, Chicken Coop and one variation known as Bird Trap.  It appears that both the inspiration quilt and mine may be a Bird Trap variation.

Last month our quilt ministry received a generous donation of fabric pieces from a faraway quilter who wished to remain anonymous.  Thinking this inspiration quilt might be a fun one to make in a larger size for donation, I decided to make a prototype mini using a couple of the donated fabric pieces and some other scraps from my stash.

There were directions in Eleanor Levie's book.  I didn't follow them. Just began cutting and piecing round and round.  For one thing I had no pink solid fabrics, and only a bit of blue solid so my version wouldn't be an accurate reproduction.  I only had very limited amounts of both the donated blue and pink fabrics for the central portion, and that gorgeous border print was also only a scant fat quarter.  Every strip was carefully cut to make the most of the limited amounts of those fabrics. The original inspiration quilt measured 44 inches square, my version is about 26x27 inches.  No problem, I love small table toppers!

For the back I chose this gray and purple vintage feed sack, one of the two remaining in my stash.

My version is ditch quilted around every seam, with freehand machine quilted feathers in the larger floral border.

This was much fun and a welcome diversion after dealing with Ruby for most of the month!

Be sure to check out Wendy's mini quilt roundup post on the last day of the month at The Constant Quilter.  There are some fabulous quilts featured every month!

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Ruby - a finished quilt

 Well, it's been awhile, I hope all is well with all of my blogging friends.  And that you've all found a way to beat the heat that has us all in its grip.  Since we can't do much outside after around 11 a.m., I've been quilting, trying to finish up my rebellious Ruby.  She'll be in the donation pile for this year's church camp auction over Labor Day weekend.

And, she's officially finished, as of around 8 p.m. yesterday!  Quilting her was a torturous adventure(?) to say the least.  But wonky stitches and all, done and dusted.

And for a reference point, here's what that lovely border fabric Really looks like below. It's one of those fabrics that tends to look washed out in most lighting.

There were times while quilting it that I thought about wadding it up and tossing it in the firepit and lighting a match to it.  Now that it's done I'm warming to it, crazy color combinations and all.  

Some of the quilted blocks:

I may like the "plain brown paper bag" back better than the front!

This morning around 6:30 right after the sun rose over the mountain the quilt, my dog and I ventured out to see what the morning light would do for the quilt.  Not great, but probably a bit better than interior shots. The colors are good in this one:

There was no time to dawdle as the gardens needed watering, then get ready for church service.  Now, after picking up a rotisserie chicken and potato salad on the way home, we're free to while away the rest of the day. And Ruby is enjoying her beauty bath and fluffing in the dryer for a bit.  

Time to quilt June's mini, and try to get all those triangles from the design wall stitched together before the grands take over the sewing room next weekend for their annual 4th of July romp in the country. 

Have a great week!

p.s.  by now you probably know that Blogger is messing things up again for email subscribers.  I don't have a clue how to fix my blog so please read some of the excellent tutorials by some more tech-savvy bloggers and choose a method that will work for you.  Sorry that I'm no help in that regard, sigh.