Friday, October 29, 2021

Catching up at the end of the month

Over the past few weeks I've been cutting 2 inch strips from a box of fat quarters and smaller pieces donated to our quilt ministry a few months ago.  This Tuesday the final rows of blocks were stitched into this top, now awaiting quilting after the new year.   This one measures 64x76 inches at the moment.  Not inclined to add a border at this point, but we'll see.

The inspector was on duty of course ...

Next up, another smaller start for the quilt ministry.  We had a bin of scrappy leftovers from two quilts made from an older line of fabric donated to us a couple years ago.  And we just received word of a tiny two-pound preemie just born to the niece of one of our church members.  Who should of course have a special quilt awaiting him when he is eventually discharged from the hospital, expected sometime around Christmas.  These are the first four blocks, each block will finish at 9 inches.  Planning to add a border or two after the blocks are assembled. What do you think - too dark, too much pink, or will it be ok for a baby boy quilt??  I'm never quite sure when not working with "kid" fabrics.

Then of course there's the monthly mini challenge which I've been very delinquent about.  When Janet O. at Rogue Quilter issued a challenge to all the mini-makers to create a mini from the contents of our baggie storage systems, I immediately thought of all the little sandwich bags stored in a couple of my swiffer boxes.  Retrieved two of those baggies, one with tiny flying geese, and the other containing the leftovers from a gaggle of tumbler mini blocks Janet had sent me a few years ago plus a bunch of miscellaneous 2-1/2 inch squares left from previous projects. Decided to tackle the tumbler baggie first, so I made a cardboard template from one of the tumbler blocks and proceeded to cut up all the squares to make more tumblers, and that's as far as I've gotten with my next mini.  Hopefully I'll be able to squeeze this project into November's schedule.  This plus the remaining hand quilted projects should be more than enough to keep me busy and avoiding any unnecessary housework for quite awhile!

Til next time, happy stitching! 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Another Finish - or not

 Yesterday the sun finally showed its face again and I was able to take a few photos of the latest finish, the Black and White Triangles quilt.  It needs a better name than that, please chime in with something that seems fitting as my mind is blank!

Not sure why but this quilt is incredibly heavy considering the large piecing, the usual 80/20 Hobbs Heirloom cotton/poly batting, and a one-piece wide backing.  I should have weighed that backing fabric I guess.  It will be a warm one for sure.

I machine quilted it with double lines across each triangle edge, but thinking it might need more.  When my two big hand quilting projects are finally completed I might just get this back out and do some big stitch hand quilted circles in the middle of each triangle.  What do you think?  It is perfectly usable as it is now, and can be pressed into service when the grands come for their next overnight stay in the meantime.  So maybe it's finished and maybe not ...

The backing.  And here is a warning - I ordered this one from a well-known company, it "should" have been plenty large enough for this 80x80 inch quilt.  But, rather than the advertised 108" width the fabric was barely 100 inches in width, and it had been cut 'straight' as it was folded on the bolt, but in fact I lost a good 18 inches of length due to its not being on grain when it was folded right off the loom.   So, when layering and pinning the top, I had to angle it rather than having the backing straight across.  Thankfully it appears fairly straight now that the quilting and binding are finished and it has gone through its first wash.  

As usual my four-legged buddy accompanied me as we wandered around the yard for a few more shots. I think he's learned the art of posing for quilt photos!

Today was the last nice day before our next round of dreary rainy days and colder nights.  Weather forecasters are calling for snow flurries in the higher elevations Saturday and Sunday night. We've had very little fall colors here, many trees just dropped their leaves without changing color at all, others turned brown rather than the typical bright reds, yellows and bronzes.  

Last fall we had bought a bundle of three ears of Indian corn to hang next to the back door on the covered porch.  They stayed there all winter and into late planting season this spring.  Hubby decided to try an experiment and planted a row of the kernels along with some sunflowers along the garden fence.  Well, the sunflowers grew tall but the Indian corn grew taller, with some stalks reaching at least 12 feet high, a couple might have reached 13-14 feet!  The leaves were huge too.  And the stalks bore ears of corn which we eagerly awaited to see if they would have the wonderful colors of the parent kernels.  Checked a few ears in early September and were disappointed to see only whitish  kernels at the top of the ears we tested.  Hubby cooked a couple of those ears and tried eating them - very starchy!  But today, lo and behold, some of the ears yielded pure gold!  What a happy surprise, kind of like opening gifts on Christmas morning.  These are our fall colors blessing this year!
Glistening like agates just tossed by the waves onto a beach .

I only opened four ears today, there are more waiting in the wheelbarrow to husk on another day. Some are quite small and probably won't yield much,  but we're delighted with these and if we can get the kernels planted earlier next year, we may get a much better harvest to share and decorate the porch next fall.

And I'll leave you with the latest photo of Sammy in his favorite napping spot in the 'tent' created under the hoop stand holding my Quilty 365.

Til next time, happy stitching!

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

One Down and Three to Go!

 "Lady Sings the Blues" is now in the finished column!   This is the quilt slated for gifting to a birthday girl in late November.  So happy to have it completed!

I've been waiting for a nice sunny day to photograph it properly, and it looked like the skies were finally clearing mid-morning.  Though by the time I gathered up the quilt, clothes pins and camera, the skies were again cloudy, which has been our pattern of late.  When it isn't raining that is.  But still, it turned out to be a pretty good day for photographs.

A lot of stencils were used in this quilt for the free motion portion.  All marked with Crayola Ultra-Washable markers, which I've never had an issue with, until this quilt.  After it's first pre-wash bath in plain cold water I took it out to be sure the markings were removed and was horrified to find pink bleeding on the tannish backgrounds of several of the basket blocks.  And this was supposed to be a gift quilt!  The blocks with the creamier background fabric shed the marker with no problem.  Another rinse, the pink remained although slightly lighter.  A third wash with Synthrapol and warm water removed nearly all of the pink leaving only the faintest hint that probably no one else would even notice, but since I knew it was still there ... sigh.  The only thing that comes to mind is that my friend who gave me the pieced blocks (her rejects after making a quilt of the same kit fabrics) never prewashes her fabrics. Perhaps the finish on that one fabric held the color from the washable markers, though I don't know for a fact.  Anyhow, a fourth clear water rinse/dry after the outside photography seems to have removed the remaining pink, for which I'm really thankful!

I hand quilted the baskets with Aurifil 12 wt. thread, while the remainder of the quilt was machine quilted with Aurfil 50 wt.  I like the hand quilted details, plus dreaded forcing the machine to quilt into the multiple layers of all those hst seams, and figured the hand quilting "might" go faster with less angst.

The back:

And the so-called "beauty shots"

Our fall colors are slow to appear and seem much more muted this year, though time will tell when this area finally reaches "peak colors."  So a couple of the porch mums were pressed into service.

And here's our Sammy, now one year old, who accompanied me throughout.  He's such a character, into everything and just as sweet as he can be.  

Hide and seek -

Hope all is well in your world.  Now back to quilting!

p.s.  I'm having issues with comments either coming to my email twice, or in some cases not at all. Please forgive me if you don't receive a response in your email.  Maybe blogger will eventually get it right, or maybe go back to a system that actually worked.  Not holding my breath though.