Thursday, June 22, 2017

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!

Haven't done much stitching--sprained my wrist a week and a half ago and couldn't use the rotary cutter until yesterday. Hand stitching was also painful, but I started doing that anyway a couple of days ago. The family reunion is Saturday, and this wall hanging must be finished for the auction!

Now I am at the "how am I going to quilt this?" stage--a decision I always find challenging.  I did pick up thread today that I think goes fairly well with the background. My intention had been to hand quilt the background and do some machine quilting on the wool, but that decision was made for me when I slipped on the wet grass of our berm, wearing my "no traction" garden clogs and caught myself as I went down, with my wrist. One of my finer moments. Now it will all be by machine! But since I do have osteoporosis, I am just grateful it was only a sprain!

 And then there is the mini Dresden quilt. The center circles are not stitched down (and they are NOT perfect, even though they are closer to perfect after using Karen Kay Buckley's Perfect Circles than they ever would have been without).
I can't decide if the circles need to be a consistent color, but I couldn't find a color that contrasted with all of the Dresdens and yet fit in. I also don't know whether to bind the quilt in the purple you see on the side, or border it with it, and choose something else for binding. I'm leaning toward bordering it, but then I need to come up with a binding.

The little basket quilt made from leftovers of one of Mom's quilts, and part of Dad's favorite blue plaid shirt now needs a border. It has been hanging on my design wall for a couple of weeks like this, and I believe I prefer the fabric on the right.
It is a little calmer than the one on the left, and it is such a busy, scrappy thing that I think "calmer" will be good. I plan to bind it with a blue, if I can find one I like with it. Haven't yet.

DD#2 had a getaway with her hubby to Hawaii recently. She brought me these fun goodies (along with some delicious gluten free coconut macaroons--which are no longer around for a photo). The decorative box is made with woven orchid stems, which is so fitting, since I have half a dozen orchid plants. It will provide pretty storage for my empty quilting machine bobbins. I am going to put my collection of the row by row plates up along the top of my sewing room wall, kind of like a wallpaper border. So fun to have one from Hawaii! My only decision here is how I can best show off the pretty batik print, but I have some ideas.

My thanks to those of you that have added my brother to your prayers. He is still in the hospital. This is his third stay this month, and he has already spent 15 days there, most of them in ICU. He has had two heart procedures, and has struggled with infections and a flare up of another condition that troubles him. Hopefully tomorrow will find him out of ICU! DH and I celebrated our 39th anniversary this week by taking my Mom to the hospital 90 miles away to see him. It would have been Dad and Mom's 65th anniversary on the same day, if Dad hadn't graduated in December. But it was a good day. We were glad we spent it as we did.

Until next time,
Janet O.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Baskets By Barb

Look at this beauty. I love those little baskets.
 
This is Barb's half of our swap, and it arrived at my home Wednesday. Sorry I have been slow to get it posted.  






It is beautifully hand quilted, too. If you follow Barb (and if you don't, you should), you know Baptist Fans are her signature quilting pattern. I am so honored to have this in my home! 







Not too long ago I won a giveaway on Barb's blog, so I know she does a package up right. This is what I found when I opened the box in which this quilt was sent.  The quilt was wrapped up in that wonderful beehive/bee fabric (I do live in the beehive state). 

The pink bag contained this yummy treat from Barb's recent trip to the South.








The yellow tissue paper enclosed this great selection of CW charms.





                                                 And finally, there was this panel of vintage-style  designs to use in friendship/signature quilts.

But there was a scary side to this swap. I sent my quilt to Barb on Tuesday of last week, and she had it by Thursday. Barb sent this to me on Wednesday of last week--we both used Priority Mail, but as of Monday of this week I had still not received her package. After being held hostage by the USPS for six days, when the little quilt was released, it could not seem to relax and lay flat.

What I do when this occurs is just lay the  quilt on a flat, waterproof surface (like a kitchen counter), and give it a spraying of water--but don't soak it. This will relax the fibers and then as it dries, it tightens back up just a bit and lays nice and flat.
Thank you, Barb, for a most delightful and "Fun with Barb" swap!

Just want to share one other "little" thing. I've had a clip on a stand for a little while now, for displaying mini quilts. It comes in two sizes, and I had considered buying the smaller size to use for smaller quilts, but never actually did it.
Just last week, while spending way too much money in a bookstore, I found this in their gift section--on clearance, at half price! How long do you think I had to ponder that purchase? It is even smaller than the one I didn't buy at the quilt shop. Here is the new one holding a 4" quilt.










And here you see the two side-by-side.
 


























That is it for now. Until next time,
Janet O.


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Irresistible!

I am having way too much fun with these little Dresdens. I had said I could see a little Dresden quilt in my future--welcome to the future. I can't stay away from them!
The plates are just pinned to the blocks, awaiting my half-hearted applique efforts.
I had some "Wild Orchid" yardage and thought it might make sweet little Dresdens, but decided I wanted more variety. Luckily, a LQS had some mini charm packs and I was able to get two "plates" cut from each mini charm. 
Just playing with possibilities here. I'm pretty sure I want to use that plaid for sashing. I haven't used any of the black fabrics, and was wondering if it would be too glaring to use it as the cornerstones and Dresden centers. What do you think?

Speaking of the centers, when I posted about my fear of appliqueing the circles, and chickening out and using wool, Sue mentioned that I might want to give these a try. So I ordered them, and will attempt "real" appliqued centers on this mini quilt.
Thanks, Sue--I think. : )  (I'll let you know for sure after trying them.)


Had another swap in May. This is what I sent to Barb. I actually didn't start out making it for her--just making it to make it. But as I worked on it, I kept feeling like it belonged at her house--if you follow Barb's blog, you know why. 
I named this one "Honoring Abraham".





It looked really good at my house, but it will look even better at Barb's.
I haven't received her little quilt yet, but when it arrives (we think it is taking the Priority Mail scenic route across the country), you know you will see it here!













I was behind on the little ornaments I am making from Dad's favorite blue plaid shirts. I missed the May birthdays of my oldest sister and DD#2. Got all 4 ornaments made and delivered this week, but only remembered to get a photo of these two.


For this year's family reunion auction I decided I would make this Buttermilk Basin free pattern, Spirit of America, from the Henry Glass website. I linked to this and a little pieced quilt pattern in my last post.
(My friend, Gayle, has already pieced the other little design--you can see it here. I love it. She used one of my favorite color combos!)


Haven't started stitching this down yet, but it is all fused.  The buttons are not attached. This was their audition moment.

Real Life Update (I don't usually do this, I know).
Today I spent 5 hours in my gardens, and my body is talking to me! The gardens were such a mess! Due to the shoulder issues I had all last year, they have been sorely neglected, and now I am paying for it. I should have taken "before" and "after" photos. I can hardly believe the difference. And I still have the largest bed to clean up and plant, but it will have to wait until next week sometime--preferably on a day that isn't in the 90s!
May has been quite a medical month in my family. I've been on another course of steroids, for hearing loss again. My sister and I have been going to physical therapy together (for different body parts), my Mom had a mini stroke, and my brother was admitted to the ICU for heart issues. He will be getting a pacemaker next week. I am hoping June is a little kinder!
Until next time, 
Janet O.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

A whole bunch of randomness!

I did it! I updated my Tuffets Tute to show how I have had the greatest success making a smooth closure on the Tuffets. You can find it in the tabs under my header photo, or just click here.
In order to get photos of the process I made another boxy pincushion--the little purple and cheddar one. This tiny thing finishes at 2" square.
If you look closely you can see a pin head on the bottom edge of the dark pincushion. I hadn't stitched it closed yet. : )
And, as you can see, I couldn't resist taking the little Dresden to the dark side. I love the way a black background makes colors pop!

If you recall the block Lisa Bongean designed for The Splendid Sampler, you may recognize the center of this. Lisa called her block "Dedication Rose", and it was designed for needle turned applique, but I did it in wool.

And then I gave it a few borders to make a little medallion quilt out of it.

 My red/white mini Burgoyne Surrounded was intended to be entered in our State Quilt Guild Jubilee show of red/white quilts, but life happened--and my entry did not. It would have been the first time I entered a show. I finally got another block made. I am making this square, so I only have 5 more blocks to go.
I think it is fun to see how much the 97 pieces in each block shrink as you assemble them.

 


Since everything is already cut for the whole quilt, and some of the little units are assembled, you may wonder why I haven't whipped this up faster. I'll tell you--because it takes so much concentration!! More often than not I am sewing at night and I am too tired to think this hard. But I will say that the red/white version is easier than the black/tan/cheddar version that I did a couple of years ago.

The beast has been set aside for a while now, but I have completed all of the quilting in black thread and white thread. I'll probably do the gold, light blue, and bright green blocks next, but I am struggling to match those greens with a thread. I'll do the grey and navy blue blocks last. There are a lot of those.



If you have followed me for any length of time you know how much I love red/white/blue projects. Take a look at these two free patterns by Stacy West (Buttermilk Basin) available from Henry Glass.
On the left is an 11" x 17" wool applique pattern and on the right is a little pieced quilt about 22" x 28". Oh, I want to make them both. You can find the pattern links here.




I debated whether or not to share this. You have seen a lot of my Mom's quilts lately. But here we go. On Mother's Day the women's auxiliary organization of my Mom's congregation held a little reception with a fruit/veggie buffet after their meeting. 
They featured as many of my Mom's quilts as she could gather. I had to go get photos, but I will just share one I took when I slipped in early, before the women arrived. There are 15 of Mom's quilts displayed here, all hand quilted in her tiny stitches. The quilt in the corner won sweepstakes at our county and state fairs many years ago. It went to the Houston show, too. It is a simple Irish Chain--the thing that made it win is Mom's quilting.

One more random thing, after sifting through the comments on my giveaway and weeding out the No-reply comments that didn't include an email address, the random number generator chose a winner for my drawing. Gayle (middlesister blog) is our winner. Gayle already had the book, and she graciously offered that it be gifted to another winner. So back to the random generator and this time it selected Kristie (cowgirlquilter blog). Congrats to you both. Your winnings will be on their way soon!

Until then,
Janet O.

p.s. Thanks to everyone that left a comment on the giveaway. I enjoyed hearing from so many that usually don't say much. I had 21 "no-reply" comments this time--more than ever. I appreciate the six that left contact info in their comment. If you are "no-reply" and you don't leave your email address in your comment, you are not entered. Sorry, it is just too complicated to deal with winners that can't be contacted. This is supposed to be fun. : )



 



Saturday, May 20, 2017

Six Years and Counting

Yep, six years ago this month I started this little blog in order to feel a part of a quilting community. It has been an incredible adventure, making friends with quilters from across the country and around the world. It has definitely exceeded my expectations. So as many turn from blogs to the less time-consuming forms of social media, I will continue to plod along here.

Having not posted for a couple of weeks, you might expect that I have had time to accomplish a great many things. You would be wrong. 

I made that cute little Dresden pincushion in front of the basket bowl fillers. This is from the Temecula Pincushion Parade Christmas Dresden kit Randy sent to me (I can't find it on their website, or I would link you to it). Obviously I switched out the Christmas Fabrics. I wanted to do something Spring-ish.


This was such fun to make. The technique is not exclusive to this pattern, but it is more interesting to see it play out in this small size. The acrylic template is only 1 5/8" high, so the little tumbler shapes you start with are tiny.


You fold them all so that right sides are together, and stitch a seam along the wide end.




Trim the seam and turn them right side out, which creates the pointed blade. Line up the seam with the fold, as shown in the photo.



Then you stitch the blades together, matching the outer corners, rather than the inner ones.
 

When the plate is formed, pin it to the background square, which has been folded and creased in fourths to aid in centering the plate. 










You applique it to the background and stitch a circle over the center. 








Since my applique skills are next to non-existent, and circles scare the daylights out of me, I used wool applique for the center. Now I want to make a little quilt of these blocks.
 
The pattern is for a pillow-style pincushion, but, of course, I made mine into a box-style using the instructions in my "Tuffet tutorial" found in the tabs under my header photo. One of these days I am going to update that tutorial to share how I get my smoothest finish when stitching the pincushion closed after filling it.

The only other thing I have to show after two weeks is my little purple TATW that is now quilted and bound.

I thank you all for you kindness, comments, and friendship over the years. For sticking with me I want to give you a chance to receive this bundle. Please don't publicize this--it is for those of you who are already following along.
 
I like to share things that I would like to receive. There is a book of fun small quilts from the Country Threads ladies, a charm pack of beautiful Betsy Chutchian fabrics, a few bars of my herbal soap, the Dresden pincushion I just made,  and a snazzy, new-fangled pair of thread snips .

If you are interested, just leave a comment. And thanks for joining me in this quilting/blogging journey!

Until next time,
Janet O.

Drawing Now Closed

Friday, May 5, 2017

Randy's Wonderful creation--and a bunch of other stuff

Randy's side of our swap arrived Monday and I have been remiss in not getting it posted sooner. Isn't it fabulous?

As we had agreed upon, she made a small quilt with a log cabin theme, and then she made a wonderful, roomy tote bag with the quilt on the side. I couldn't be more thrilled!


How fun will this be to take to quilt retreats and classes? It even has two pockets inside.
It is definitely coming with me to my classes with Bonnie Hunter in July!


Randy supplemented the fabric strips I sent her with some lovely pieces (and yes, Julie L., that is "that red" on the flip side).
She also sent along a few other fun goodies--a couple of little project patterns, a sweet little needle book, and a Temecula pincushion kit for a Christmas Dresden.
 

Oh, my goodness, those Dresdens are tiny! So cute! I may have to make a tiny Dresden quilt.
Thank you so much, Randy. This has been a most surprising and satisfying swap!


As to the "other stuff", I finished the 3rd little quilt I have made from leftovers from Mom's last quilt.
I even used some of her leftover batting. She has always preferred poly batting, for ease of needling, and the way it puffs and makes the design stand out. And I must admit, it is easier to get tiny stitches with poly batting. You can see the stitches better by clicking on the photo below. It was waiting to have the binding and label stitched down.







 
I also got the flimsy finished that I pieced from leftover squares from Mom's watercolor quilt and her postage stamp quilt. Obviously the corners have yet to be trimmed, but it is now off the design wall, because this is on it.
 
I took pictures to Mom of several possible "memory quilt" options that I had saved to a Pinterest board of quick quilts. She chose this one for a quilt from Dad's blue plaid shirts. I've just thrown them up quickly and may do a little shifting around before I start stitching, but once I start shifting blocks I seem to get trapped in that loop and don't know how to get out. Anyway else struggle with that?
 








I had more stitching time this week than I have had in a long time. I even managed to put some little purple 4-patches into a mini quilt top. These 4-patches have been languishing in my sewing room for many months. I have chosen patterns in which to use them on more than one occasion, but it has never clicked. I finally got this together after having to unpick an entire side, after webbing the top and discovering I had sewn on 1/3 of the top in an upside down position! Arrrgh!!
 



I tried out a new-to-me gluten free recipe that hubby and I both enjoyed. Bakery Style Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins sure hit the spot!







 In about a week and a half I will reach the 6 year anniversary of my blog. Stay tuned. : )

Until next time, 
Janet O.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Variations on a theme of Log Cabins

Classical music fans may recognize my play on the name of this little quilt. This is what I made for Randy (barristersblock blog) for our April swap. She received it this weekend, so I can share it with you now. And since it is basically all I have sewn lately that you haven't already seen a few times, this is all I have to share.
This time around I chose the fabric we would use (we could add anything else we wanted to, but I sent her half of some jelly roll strips from Barbara Brackman's Richmond Reds line, and that was our base). Randy suggested the theme of Log Cabins, or any variation of them, and we decided to stick with the 12" size. I haven't received mine from Randy yet, but she tells me she has used her own variation of those guidelines. Can't wait to see. : )


Each of the blocks I made was taken from this book. I scanned and reduced until I had them the size I wanted. Then I printed them on newsprint and foundation pieced the blocks.





This shows the back of the top, pre-paper removal. The blocks finished at around 3", I believe.








 


The quilting was all stitch-in-the-ditch. With blocks this small and busy, I felt like more than that would look out of place.





Thanks for playing along, Randy! I enjoyed the challenge. : )
Now I look forward to May, when I have a little quilt swap lined up with another blog friend.
Until next time,
Janet O.



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