Wednesday, May 3, 2023

April's Final Finish

 The old saying "a day late and a dollar short" might just apply here, as it's already the 3rd of May and I'm just now getting a chance to post April's final finish.  Though, since I didn't make the top, it probably should be called a half-finish!

The top was donated to our quilt ministry by Nann of With Strings Attached.  This photo is right after the binding was added, before washing to remove the stencil markings.  The quilting is a bit easier to see in these two photos.

Early evening photos in the sunlight, on the last sunny day we've had in quite awhile.

I think this quilt will be donated to the camp auction that takes place over Labor Day weekend.  It's a great size, just right for afternoon naps in a favorite recliner.  I love the bright bold colors Nann used!

I learned something important when washing this quilt.  As usual, after using Crayola washable markers to mark the stencils, I used a cold water rinse and spin cycle to make sure the marks were gone before adding any soap to the wash cycle.  One of the yellow fabrics refused to release the marker color.  After several more rinses, I finally put the quilt into the bathtub with warm water and Blue Dawn dish soap.  Just like magic, the marks disappeared.  Very thankful!

There are two more donation quilts to finish and then I can hopefully return to some of my own projects.  Looking forward to that!

After several days of cold rainy weather intermixed with wet snow and hail, we're hoping for a weekend filled with sunshine.  Hopefully no more hard frosts as the pear trees are blooming and the apple and cherry trees are close, as well as the blueberries.  Some years I've had the little round table out on the porch already because it was warm enough to have mid-morning lattes out there. Not this year, at least not yet.  

Til next time, happy stitching!

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Still Slogging Along but Two Finishes to Show for my Efforts!

Hello friends!  Hope this finds you enjoying some sunny spring weather abounding with daffodils and maybe even a few tulips.  After five days of 80+ degree weather last week, we returned to winter earlier this week with snow and cold winds for a couple days.  Not much accumulation, thankfully, and we're back to sunny skies this afternoon with promises of 70 degrees for the next few days.  

Since we last visited, I managed to finish both donation quilts mentioned in last month's post.  Here is the quilt for the mom.  I found a collection of two panels plus 9 half-yard pieces for this top.  As per usual all the panel pieces were skewed and a bit of a frustration getting things to fit together, but I'm liking the end result.  Decided to go outside for a few photos.

As the skies cleared it became windy.

Yep, probably time to take it back inside.

This quilt didn't start with any particular plan, just grew and adjustments made as I ran out of some of the half-yard pieces - you know - the really good background fabrics!

Once the central portion was finished, the length was woefully short, and considering what was left over, I raided my scrap bins to come up with a few additional fabrics to create the strippy top and bottom borders.  I think it turned out OK, the overall look is soft and inviting, and the recipient's favorite color is lavender.  

I used one of my favorite go-to free motion designs for the quilting, the meandering leaf motif echoes the tiny leaf pattern in the green fabric.

A peek at the back.

The son's smaller quilt went pretty much without a hitch.  After ditch quilting the major seams, I just did a loopy-balloon-circular motif across the main body of the quilt and called it done and dusted.

I found the extra panel pieces in one of the quilt ministry bins and used that on the back.  

This young man really loves dogs; I hope he also likes ducks and geese and chipmunks!

I marked some stencils on the bright citrusy quilt and hope to get the quilting completed on that by the end of next week.  If that happens I might even squeeze in a second post. Nothing is certain around here anymore, we just take one day at a time and keep on keeping-on!

Til next time my friends, keep stitching and praying for sanity and peace to return to this troubled land.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Marching Forward

 Well, so much for getting a second post for February composed!  Not that nothing has been accomplished, but I suppose it's much more fun posting a new finish than reporting on the daily slog to move projects forward.

So, since we last visited, I've accomplished the ditch quilting on three quilts that are now ready for some FMQ or hand quilting.  One of the donation tops from Nann was my favorite, and though it's mostly all florals and leaves, the bright colors make me think of mid-summer and citrus fruits. I'm loving working on this one.  Now that the ditch quilting around the blocks is finished, the plan is to free motion a leafy-loopy pattern in each block, and probably also in the outer border. Don't think a fancy stencil will show up well on that leafy print you can see along the right edge in the photo below.  

I've also made progress with piecing my vintage spin blocks, up to 23 now (I think).  They're super easy piecing - free pinless piecing - which is a departure for me  who always loads up on pins attempting to achieve perfect piecing - an impossible task! A few more of the blocks for this top:

It will be interesting to see if all these blocks can be merged into one harmonious whole.  My husband doesn't want me to cut the wagon wheels down into squares, but instead divide the blocks into several tops, which would result in 22" blocks! 🤣 

Ah, probably not.  Needless to say though, this quilt has been more fun than I've had quilting in quite awhile, and stretching my imagination quite a bit in the process.

So, last Sunday I volunteered myself to make two donation quilts for an older woman and her multiply-challenged adult son.  Being immune-compromised she has not felt safe for either of them to be among large groups of people, and though they come to church regularly, they listen to the service via FM radio in their car.  It must be so lonely for them feeling they must remain isolated from the world, but they and we are thankful for the electronic means available to keep in touch.

Anyway, the son's quilt will be a lap size, probably finishing in the neighborhood of 40x45 or 50 inches. An animal theme was suggested, especially dogs, and I found a sweet panel online, and have just begun the design/piecing process for this one. Planning to see if there are any more ducks or geese fabrics in the ministry stash before finalizing anything, but my fabric pull from home stash is here.

So, that's a wrap for February's progress.  Snow-rain-sleet storm is predicted for our end of the state tomorrow into Saturday.  Depending on which weather model is used, we're supposed to get anywhere from 4-11 inches of snow.  Time will tell, if it's as bad as they predict, there should be lots of quilty sewing time over the weekend. 

Til next time, happy stitching!

Friday, February 10, 2023

Slow Progress and a Completed Top

 It seems this year is starting off the same way last year ended, very very slowly as far as quilting progress goes.  However - I have a completed top to show you, a super scrappy whimsical children's donation top made during our quilt ministry meetings over the past couple months.

 It wasn't until I found the yellow and blue polka-dot fabrics in one of the bins at church that it seemed like the chaotic assortment of blocks could come together into a more or less cohesive whole.  The sashings add a note of bright spring-like cheeriness that this needed.  The individual blocks are made up of a few fairly modern fabrics along with a lot of older prints likely from the 1990s, and possibly earlier.

The last couple weeks I've spent cutting hundreds of wedge pieces and have begun piecing my version of Vintage Spin.  I've had this quilt on my to-make list ever since seeing Kathy Doughty's version in her book Adding Layers.  I've sewn together the wedges for the first three blocks.   This first one is my favorite so far.   I think lack of sharp contrast appeals to me more than the second block with the stark black/white.  We shall see how it all plays together, it may be that there will be some orphans among the pile of wedges.

The first three:

I followed Kathy Doughty's plan to utilize vintage or old-looking fabrics to put this version together.  Since both our ministry bins and my own stash are composed of a lot of older fabrics, I didn't have to haunt thrift shops looking for any more!  About half-way through the cutting process I began to wonder how this pattern might look composed of batiks, and may just try that option for a smaller second quilt.  I'm planning on waiting until all the wedge pairs are pieced before squaring up any of the blocks.  

The Janome is back from the repair shop, it turns out the problem wasn't in the machine itself, the dual feed foot was broken after all.  There is a tiny spring in the enclosed portion of the foot that had broken, so the foot needed to be replaced.  All in all, a much less expensive repair than I'd anticipated.  I've begun ditch quilting the seams on the Christmas top pieced at the end of December, and that will become next up in the evening hand quilting queue.

Our very odd winter weather continues, with little to no snow, and temperatures mostly in the 40s and even low 50s the past week or so, and next week our prediction is for more of the same.  Just hoping we don't get all our snow in March and April!

Til next time, happy stitching!

Monday, January 16, 2023

First Finish of 2023!

 Good morning friends!

I finally finished hand quilting the Red and Lights log cabin quilt a week or so ago, and completed stitching down the binding over the weekend.  Here's how it looked by evening lamp light about five minutes after the last stitch was taken.  A little late for Christmas but just in time for Valentines Day, with exactly one Christmas fabric and a few light pinks (more on that later).  My goal is to have four Christmas/winter quilts for the holiday season,  This is number three and the gray/red squares top from my last December post will be the fourth.

We finally had a sunny afternoon yesterday after several days of gray foggy rain and wind, followed by snow. 

Not too much snow as you can see and it was beginning to melt where the sun shone on the lawn.  Our dog loves snow, running along and scooping it up on his tongue every few steps, then rolling in it and generally having a great time.

The back:

After getting a few more shots and walking Gibbs around the yard, the quilt came back inside for its first bath and fluff in the dryer.  Hmm, even using Synthrapol and several color catchers, a few of the "white" prints came back a pale pink, thankfully uniformly, but pink nonetheless!  I had used scraps from a number of sources, some of which probably had never been prewashed. Interestingly, some of the whites remained totally unchanged.  So, rather than calling it my red and white quilt (actually some of the whites were creams and light tans to begin with), the new name is Red and Lights.  

After washing while finishing drying on the bed:

The hand quilting made it soft and snuggly, perfect for one of the grandchildren when they stay over on Christmas Eve next time.  It shrunk up a bit after washing, now measuring 62x71 inches.

I've fallen behind with blogging, reading others' posts and especially commenting over the past few weeks. We are settling in to a new normal after our beloved pastor was laid to rest on Friday, after serving our little country church and the surrounding communities for over forty years.  Last week was spent preparing for the several hundred friends and extended family expected for the funeral. Hearing nearly 200 people lifting their voices in unison in songs of faith and hope was almost beyond description.  We are blessed to be a part of this community of faith.

Til next time, stitch with joy and cherish every day!

Monday, January 2, 2023

Historic Panel Challenge Top

Today is the day Lori at Humble Quilts is having her linky party finale for her Historic Panel Challenge. Of course I do not have a finished quilt ready, but do have my top finished, and since the photos taken in early December now have the quilt sandwiched and ready for quilting!  

So many decisions during the process.  I really didn't want to make another mini or small quilt - we simply do not have any more wall space to display little quilts, and I wanted to make it a useful size.  This ends up measuring in the neighborhood of 72x72 inches.  The biggest challenge was trying to make each round come out to an even number - my old math skills seem to have flown by the wayside in recent months! No one was more amazed than I was when all those sawtooth blocks came out even when they were sewn together into the borders!  

Next up is the decision of how this will be quilted.  I'm leaning toward a combination of hand and machine quilting, although nothing will take place until the Janome returns home from it's next visit to the repair shop (see my previous post).  

Anyway, I chose this Barbara Brackman Metropolitan Fair print for the backing - it was the only reproduction print I had enough of to make a backing, and it had been saved for enough years waiting for the perfect place to use it.  

I'm planning to incorporate the panel selvedge into the label eventually.  Not sure of the age of this panel since I wasn't able to find a reference to it online.  Does anyone (Lori?) know?

The new year has begun with quiet, calm, above freezing weather, and the ice in the driveway has departed leaving us with squishy ground underneath.  But if the sunshine holds, we may see it dry out enough that we don't feel like we're wallowing in little stones and mud when we try to cross it.  In the meantime, the kitchen and back entry room floors show lots of little footprints as I'm not keen on mopping every hour of the live long day.  I'd rather be quilting!

So, thanks Lori, for this challenge, and for sending this great little panel a couple years ago.  I'm hoping it will be a true-blue finish by the end of 2023!