Wednesday, November 30, 2022

A Mini for November

 It's not Throwback Thursday, but today I'll share a mini quilt made several years ago, I believe before joining Wendy's wonderful Monthly Mini Roundup.

This is called simply Pieced from Lois's Scraps II.  

Over the years my friend Lois has brought little baggies of leftover pieces from various quilts she has made, and we issued a challenge for our quilt group to take some of the scraps, make a little quilt, then pass along the remainder from the baggie to someone else.  I think only one other person participated beside myself, and this is my favorite of the minis made from Lois's scraps.  There are also several full size quilts that I've made from her scraps and abandoned projects.

The cake stand blocks are made from her leftovers and I added the cheddar/gold fabrics from my own stash.  

The cake stand blocks are 4 inches and the finished quilt measures 16 inches square.  I hand quilted it in light yellow thread.

The back is from a feed sack.  A little easier to see the quilting here. The photo dates this little quilt to fall of 2018.  It has hung in our dining room since it was finished.

You can visit Wendy's blog at The Constant Quilter to find other lovely monthly minis posted on the last day of each month.  

A bit of snow in our forecast for tonight, but then warming again by weekend.  We have had an unusually warm November, and unlike other parts of western New York very little snow.  Yay for clear dry roads!

p.s.   I've had difficulty leaving comments on a number of blog posts lately.  I apologize for this but Blogger seems intent on making it more and more difficult all the time to be sociable with our blogging friends.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

A November Finish

Finished on Friday, gifted on Sunday to a church member about to undergo major surgery, this is the simple Autumn Squares quilt, for lack of a better name.

I quilted it very simply, stitch in the ditch on all the squares, then diagonal serpentine lines in all the narrow strips and across the squares.  

It has been difficult to find time to sew this year, but yesterday I finally had an NBS (nothing but sewing) day and have nearly finished the sawtooth star border on the historic medallion quilt.  No photos until the top is complete, at this point it is about 63x63 inches.  I'd like to add one or two additional borders to bring it up to at least 70 inches wide, or perhaps 72x80 inches, which will make it a good usable size.  

In the meantime a few more photos of the Autumn Squares finish.

The back, which didn't photograph very well.  It is actually a soft golden buttery yellow print.  Selvedge is marked Jane Word 1996 for Fabrics by Spectrix.  I had never heard of that company, have you?

We had a lovely Thanksgiving at our younger daughter's home, and are currently enjoying lots of turkey leftovers as I made a turkey breast with all the trimmings on Sunday afternoon.  I love a few days of just heat-em-up meals, don't you!?

I'll try to be back tomorrow with a mini quilt - an older one from before I joined Wendy's Monthly Minis Group.  Til then, have a lovely day!

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Fall - going, going, but not yet gone

Once again, it's been a while since I've posted, and things probably won't change much for the foreseeable future.  But all is mostly well here, except for our continued lack of energy post-covid.  

We've had a spectacular autumn display of color in this part of the state. One of the best years since we returned to WNY.  I'll share a few photos taken a couple weeks ago on a somewhat hazy afternoon, just before an expected rainy spell.  At that time the maples were near peak.  Now they have faded and the more subtle hues of maroon, golds and bronzes of the oak forests have taken over.  I think I almost find the more subdued colors more inviting, there's a special softness about them that sings to my heart. 

So, without further ado, a few scenes from our yard:

I typically don't do much if any decorating for the season inside the house. Thinking on why that is, I came to the conclusion that it's because this house exudes autumn all year long  Many of the walls are paneled in knotty pine , the drapes are a small bittersweet hued check, and the somewhat eclectic furnishings are mostly antique or vintage pieces from family or local thrift/vintage shops.   We did pick up a few small gourds on our recent trip to our favorite old barn/farm stand to stock up on plenty of winter squashes, etc.  Earlier this summer we received a gift of 'fruit of the month' and the first shipment arrived packed in a little wooden crate too lovely to discard, so it was pressed into service as an autumn gourd backdrop.

More hickory nuts and a few bright leaves have been added since the photo was taken, and then today while cleaning up the side yard my husband brought in the last two sunflowers, tiny, now in a little bud vase until they fade.

Shall we talk quilting now for a bit?  I'm still plugging along, however slowly, on the historic panel challenge.  Long since gave up any hope of having it completed by the November deadline, I'm just concentrating on enjoying making each block as time permits.  Here are a few of the latest sawtooth stars that will eventually be added all around the center panel.

The quilt is quickly outgrowing the design wall.  

Thinking this quilt may eventually go to our second grandson, who just completed his Army basic training this week.  But we'll keep it here for awhile first, until he's settled a bit more in life.  Hard to believe he's all grown up now, seems like yesterday he was a toddler learning to throw spiral passes to his dad when he was just 2 years old!  He hasn't given up his love of football in the meantime, and played every year of junior and senior high school.  How time flies.

Til next time, hope all is well with each of you!

Friday, September 16, 2022

A Simple Donation Top and Panel Progress

 Our quilt ministry bin(s) of completed quilts is empty, and it was time to make up a couple more tops.  Here is the first one, made up of smallish pieces recently donated by one of our group who is downsizing her stash.  I'm calling it Autumn Squares for now.  At 52x70 inches, it will make a nice throw or single bed size quilt.  

Yesterday dawned crisp and clear and this photo was taken shortly after the sun rose over the mountain.  We've had quite cool nights of late, this morning's temp was a chilly 39 degrees.  We're seeing more and more color in the leaves and the morning dew keeps the lawn wet until well into the afternoon.  My favorite season of the year is just getting underway!  The canning kettle is put away and I'm ready to get back to some serious sewing again.

What has consumed much of my stitching time over the past month is the historic panel challenge by Lori of Humble Quilts earlier this summer.  From strips to four-patch squares, to 36 patch blocks, here's what 732 one-inch finished squares look like surrounding my panel.

The original panel before adding any borders.

While I could just add a small outer border and call it finished, it isn't currently a very useable size at 38x39 inches.  A wall hanging except we don't have any more wall space large enough without taking something else down, and not really suitable as a table topper either.  So yesterday the fabric bins all came out of the closet for a good rummage through.  Aside from practically no blue of an appropriate shade or pattern, I did find some reds and tans that may help finish this off nicely.  I'd like to see the finished size at least 50x65 or so.  We'll just have to see what happens, and no promise to have a completed quilt by November - a finished top is probably the best I can hope for.  

Hand quilting is chugging along at a slower pace on the log cabin quilt.  I try to quilt during the evening on days when my eyes are still able to focus on the work at that time of day.  It's slow work but still my very favorite finish for any quilt.

Til next time, wishing you a beautiful and peaceful weekend.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

One more finish for the camp auction

 Another month has gone by and I'll admit it's been difficult finding time for anything but the absolute necessities of life of late.  And it's tomato canning season already.  Despite an abysmal start, having covid and Lyme right at planting season and never having a chance to weed the garden plot, our tomatoes and peppers are thriving and the romas are outdoing themselves with big beautiful fruit, the best we've seen.  I guess benign neglect can have its benefits, lol!

There is one small finish to write about, can I call this my August mini?

The little Asian quilt was completed last week. I wish I could say that I'd pieced and machine embroidered the top, but it came to me from Nann at With Strings Attached who had gotten it along with some completed quilts at a rummage sale. I decided to lightly hand quilt this one since machine quilting designs eluded me and didn't want to have to rip out any big ugly mistakes.  Maybe one case where hand quilting was probably faster than by machine!  And it was fun to quilt this on the floor hoop, a little bit every afternoon for a couple weeks.  Finished size 35x35 inches.

The backing and binding fabric:

In the floor hoop now is the circus baby quilt, though it remains untouched.  And for evening quilting with the hand-held hoop when the temperature allows is this log cabin top:

Also have begun working on Lori's (Humble Quilts) historic panel challenge.  Keeping it simple hopefully so it can be completed by the November deadline. Thought I had a few photos of the big pile of red, cream and blue pieces pulled from the scrap bins and now cut up, but you'll have to wait until something more is stitched onto this piece to see the glorious mess!

We've had a bit of rain in the past week and the cold front that came through late yesterday brought us a cooler night with much lower humidity.  So appreciated.  Hope all is well with each of you.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Puffins and Penguins is a Finish

It seems like I've been away from blogging for a long time,  and I guess it has been.  Recovery from covid and Lyme disease took quite a bite out of my energy level, and that is still not where it was before they struck.  But I'm finally back to doing a bit of quilting and have finished another donation quilt destined for the annual camp benefit auction.  

"Puffins and Penguins" - the second edition of black and white triangles finished at 72x72 inches.  I'm thinking of billing it as an I-Spy Quilt for All Ages, there's a lot going on in many of the prints.  I do like working with the equilateral triangles, though when cutting directional fabrics every other cut results in an upside down pattern.  Not really a detriment though since if the quilt is flipped around on the bed, there's always a lot of prints that read right side up.  

I think I prefer seeing it with the black triangles pointing up, don't know why.  

There are a few older prints in  this, dating likely to the 1990s, though I think most are newer.  I think that little medical/stuffed animal print in the top row in the above photo might be the oldest one. You can probably spot it if you enlarge the photo.

I really lost interest in the hand quilting project started early this year.  It sits on the table next to the recliner untouched now for several months.  Not sure why because I really liked this little top.  Thinking maybe it's time to set it aside for a bit and pick up something else for evening hand quilting.  

Yesterday I dug out this small top I received last fall and found a backing fabric and got it pinned and put into the floor stand hoop.  Finally, I'm finding joy in hand quilting again!  Nothing fancy, just some curving lines to hold things together.   The beauty of this top is in the piecing and machine embroidered motifs. Working on it in the afternoon when the light is good. This will also go to the camp benefit auction this year.  At 35 inches square I should have it finished soon.  

This is the entire quilt top:

As I pinned this it felt like the quilting would be difficult as most of the fabrics are batiks and the backing fabric is slightly heavier than usual.  But thankfully the needle is going through surprisingly easily, one stitch at a time.  Really happy I chose to hand quilt this rather than attempt to figure out a good machine quilting design for it.

The garden is growing, especially the weeds of course.  Some critter came by and ate our first banana pepper plus most of the plant.  We have cucumbers almost ready for harvest, thankfully there are plenty of prickly leaves protecting them.  Tomatoes will likely begin ripening in August and hopefully we'll have jalapeno and banana peppers for the salsa we like to can.  Blueberries are ripening now, we'll freeze any that aren't eaten immediately.  Gibbs loves to wait while I pick them and chow down on the less than perfect ones.  He would probably eat them right off the bushes, except these are very old and large bushes now and the berries are all too high for him to reach (thankfully).

I'll leave you with the prettiest blooms we have right now.  A couple years ago Barbara from Cat Patches sent me a few seeds from her purple poppy plants.  Her plants did not survive for a second year, sadly, so I didn't expect much when I planted the seeds last spring.  We had a few rather scrawny plants that each had one blossom and that was it.  Well, those few blossoms cast their seeds all alongside our back porch and we ended up with these beauties this summer.  This is at the northeast corner of the house, getting only an hour or so of sun each day, with a lot of snow and ice all winter.  Unlike the red poppies, these apparently don't like full sun.  Who knew?!  

Full moon this week.  I love when the nights are clear and the moon shines in the bedroom windows. Somehow sleep comes easier under the light of the moon, and that's where I'm headed soon.

P.S. Blogger is suddenly not allowing me to reply to individual comments on the blog post page, so if I do not have an email address for you I may not be able to reply.  But, I appreciate your comments whether from old blogging friends or those of you who might be visiting for the first time.  Thank you!

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Of Quilts and Flowers

 We finally had a day or two of sunshine between long spells of rain and gloom.  Yesterday was a beautiful day for wandering about the yard a bit and taking some photos of this smallish finish.

Finishing at 57x60 inches, a good snuggling size but not too big for a youngster to carry along for a backyard picnic and playtime.  This will be going into our donation bins at quilt ministry next week.  

Poppies have finally begun to bloom.  Everything seems late this year, probably due to the dank and cold weather we've had.  

This quilt was born of a big pile of 2-1/2 inch leftover squares from who-knows-how-many other quilts from the past ten or so years. The maroon alternate blocks are from a piece bought online several years ago in a failed attempt to match some solid fabric that was running short.  It finally found its home here.

I don't think I've posted since before the holiday weekend.  We had a grand time with the grandkids, though they unfortunately brought along an unwelcome visitor, and we tested positive for covid a couple days after they left.  Granddaughter developed a sore throat the second evening here, and though they left for home the following morning it was too late.  Most of their family now has the dreaded plague, though everyone had been vaccinated and boosted.   We are now in recovery mode, only the lingering fatigue and occasional dizziness remaining.  But, and you know there's always a "but" - I probably also have contracted lyme disease.  Seems I'm a bit of a tick magnet this year, having been bitten three times in the past month.  This last one has produced the red bulls-eye telltale sign.  So, off to the doctor I'll go on Monday to see if this is the real deal.  Hopefully they will just call in an antibiotic script and that will be that.  Always something it seems.

Anyhow, back to the quilt - when it came time for binding, I had in mind something multicolored with pink or purple.  But, knew I didn't have the energy to pull all the bins from the closet to find something. Opened the closet and there right on top were two cut-offs from the backing of the purple quilt shown in my previous post.  Serendipity I tell you!  Not only that they were wide backing pieces - nice and long - and only two lengths plus a bit more accomplished the binding.  Yay for keeping things simple.

The hayfield in the background is now well over waist-high and prime for cutting.  We've not heard from our local farmer who cuts and takes the hay each year.  They are pretty much subsistence farming guys, and I'm sure are having difficulty finding the money for diesel fuel in this economy.  We've noticed a number of fields along our road that have always been planted are lying fallow this year. Hard times are coming, way beyond the imagination of the younger generations I'm afraid.

So, what else is blooming out in the yard?  A few peonies have begun to open.

And the gentian put out its first blooms yesterday.

The rain toppled our favorite iris but I was able to salvage part of the bloom for the little bouquet on the bistro table.

The porch is abloom with hanging baskets, always a welcome springtime treat that lasts all summer long.

One final photo for Lizzy, the quilt sloppily slouched across the garden bench we found at the local second hand shop, with the pillow covers stitched from someone's cast off home dec fabric from the early 2000s.  Just a bit of clashy boho madness ...

If you're still here, thanks for rambling along with this cloudy covid-brain.  Next time will be better ...