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.

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.

Friday, April 21, 2017

From My Mother's Scraps--Part II

Lately I've been working on documenting Mom's quilts. So I thought this would be a good time to share more of the projects I have made (or have in the works) from the scraps she has passed on to me over the years from the quilts she has made. You can find part one here.
I will show my project first and then will follow with Mom's quilt that begat it. : )

When I recently found projects hiding in my sewing room closet, the brown/cream HSTs for these baskets were among them. They were leftover from one of Mom's few tied quilts. It was a quilt Dad had seen in a book and liked it, so Mom made it for him.
Don't you hate when this happens?
I'm not sure if this is how it will finish, or if I will add more borders. Right now it would finish just under 12".
Yesterday I sewed up the baskets (which will finish at 5") 
and was about to sash them with a blue plaid from Mom's leftovers, but it wasn't my favorite combination. Then I had the bright idea to use part of Dad's favorite blue plaid shirt. I'm really liking the fact that this is made from leftovers of a quilt Mom made for Dad and fabric from Dad's favorite shirt.

This is a really poor photo of Mom's quilt--and then I made it worse by using a photo of the photo. I'm not sure why, but Mom called this The Cowboy Quilt. She made it just 4 or 5 years ago.
You can see that the stars were made using brown/cream HSTs, and Mom had made a few dozen more than she needed.
When she was choosing the fabrics for this quilt she wasn't pleased with the selection of plaids available locally, so I brought her some of the plaid shirts from my stash. I believe this is the only quilt in which she ever used repurposed shirts.

You have seen this on my design wall recently. It is still hanging out there, but I have sewn a row together now and then. The first three diagonal rows are made. The others are falling off the wall.

This began with the scraps from Mom's one venture into the lovely, flowery world of watercolor quilts. 
This was named "Drink the Living Water". I don't know if that was the name of the pattern, or if she made it up. If you enlarge the photo you may be able to see the stipple quilting--it is all by hand. I can't imagine doing that over all those seams!

I didn't have enough leftovers from the watercolor quilt to get as many blocks as I wanted, so I also incorporated squares from Mom's Postage Stamp-ish quilt. It isn't a true postage stamp quilt if you define that as a quilt with 1" finished squares. The squares in her quilt finished at 1 1/2". Close enough, to me.
I liked the fact that the pastel inner border on this quilt is also made up of little squares.

A few of the blocks in the quilt below were already assembled, but not used in the quilt of Mom's. There was a bunch of leftover squares already cut, too.
I did have to supplement the scraps just a tiny bit to have enough blocks to make a good sized throw quilt. I don't know why I haven't quilted this yet.

(My camera lens appears to have had a smudge when I took this photo years ago.)
I was with Mom in a local quilt shop when she saw a quilt made from this pattern on display. She really liked it and bought the pattern then and there. Mom rarely did that. Most of the quilts she made were from books or magazines she or I owned.

The challenge I have always faced when I incorporate units that Mom had already assembled, is the fact that in all Mom's decades of quilting, she has never owned a 1/4" foot, yet she has always used the edge of her foot as her seam guide, so her seams are always larger than 1/4". Matching the units I make with the units she makes isn't always easy, and the making of the quilt from these leftovers was a challenge, trying to get my blocks the same size as hers.

In Part 1 I shared these little quilts with you. I made these with leftover units from the last quilt my Mom made and gifted them to my daughters. 

 Now I am making one for myself.  I have one more hexie flower and 4 more HSTs, along with several strips of trimmings from the piano key border Mom had assembled, so I could make one more of these little quilts.

The quilting is now farther along than this shows. About all I have left to do are the motifs in the corners.

Mom decided that the quilt she made in 2015 (when she was 85) would be her last. She called it her Happy Quilt. You can see the elements that I used to make the little quilts above.


Mom is a cat lover, and for her birthday about 3 years ago I made this little quilt that I had first seen on another blog. It is foundation pieced, and not as hard as it may look. I used fabrics from 4 different quilts of Mom's to make this little piece. I will only share one of them with you. 
The quilt below is the source of the fabrics in the little quilt at the top of the pile, right beneath the kitty. This is Mom's Kitty Quilt.
 A friend had given her yards of this kitten fabric, and she had to make something with it. I helped her come up with a block that was not quite square, to accommodate the size of the kitten panels. I have a bunch of the kitten fabric left among her "scraps".
There are bags of Mom's scraps I haven't even opened yet, so maybe someday there will be a "Part III".
Most of my sewing lately has been work on swaps I have coming up, and a very minimal effort on quilting "the beast". It really does annoy my shoulder to push that king-size thing around under the needle for very long. But it will eventually get finished--one block every week or two, maybe, but it will get finished!!
Until next time, 
Janet O.

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Finish, a Challenge, and a LOT of blue plaid!

Kim Diehl's Porchside Garden is finished. It currently hangs in my dining room.

The plan had been to hand quilt the center and machine quilt the rest, but hand quilting won out in the end.

It is quilted a little less densely than the first one I made, but it is enough.

Secretly working on a little quilt for a Challenge swap with Randy. We are swapping 12" quilts, like we did last year. The one I am making involves this stuff...

...a book of foundation patterns, a copier, and sheets of newsprint paper. Sounds like there is some  foundation piecing involved (there is).

When I am piecing minis (whether foundation pieced or not), I use lots of pins--the extra fine, glass-headed variety--and I sew over them! Do you sew over pins, or do you always remove them?

I have never had a problem doing this. Yes, I have winged a pin or two, but they have only been slightly bent.
Well, as I have been working on this little piece, I have hit more pins than I can recall doing on any previous project. Look at the results of one such encounter--the pin on the left! Have you ever had that happen?                                                              

In spite of the mishaps, the little top is assembled. Now to remove the papers and get it quilted.

Aside from these projects, I have done a little bit of quilting on the beast, and I have been cutting up Dad's shirts to make a simple quilt for Mom. Can you tell he had a thing for blue plaid shirts?
There are some green ones in there, too, but blue definitely is in the majority!! He had a few favorites that were fraying at the collar and cuffs, and worn a little thin at the elbows. Dad wore a suit, white shirt and tie all his professional life. When he was working around the house he would don a plaid shirt. After retirement he only wore the white shirts and ties for church meetings, and plaid shirts everywhere else. I don't know that I ever saw my Dad in a t-shirt. Well, at least I don't have to worry about making a t-shirt quilt from his clothing. As I cut up these shirts I recall times Dad wore them and relive some of our experiences together. They are all good memories. He was a very good man--and still is, just on the other side!

If you have any ties to Canada, you may want to get in on this offer from canuckquilter. She designs wonderful patterns and has created this design for Canada's Sesquicentennial. If you click the link above and scroll down her post, you will find a link to this pattern, which is free if you move quickly. Joanne has even posted a suggested timeline to have the quilt done by the July 1st Canada Day celebration.

Until next time,
Janet O.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Hiding in the Closet (projects, not me)

In January, in this post, I showed you several small design boards with the beginnings of little quilts upon them.
This week I found more hiding in the sewing room closet, and a couple of them demanded attention--as if I had nothing else to do. One of the boards had lots of mini charms that had been randomly sliced into three strips. One row of them had been sewn into the beginnings of a mini Chinese Coins quilt. So I finished the other two rows, and found a lovely Betsy Chutchian stripe to fussy-cut for the border.

It turned out more square than I had anticipated. That is what happens when no planning whatsoever is involved in the design process. It is approximately 9".

Another bunch of mini charms that had been sliced up were mostly from Primitive Gatherings Old Glory line. I had originally intended to make rail fence blocks alternating with sawtooth star blocks, as I did in a few pieces shown in this post. I had a couple of the rail fence blocks assembled when the design board got buried in the closet.
The blocks finish at 2" and the whole things is 8" square.
I decided to switch things up. I put good old Abe in the middle of the rails, made  5-point stars, and after attaching the narrow red border, I decided it needed a sawtooth border. One more side to piece and it will be ready to layer and quilt. This may get a combination of hand and machine quilting. I'm trying to decide if this will be what I take to my family reunion auction this year.

A combination of hand and machine quilting is what I had planned to do on my Kim Diehl Porchside Garden, but after hand quilting the center, I just felt compelled to continue by hand, instead of quilting the borders by machine. Getting pretty close to finished.

My thanks to my friend, Mary, who has helped prepare me for the classes I am taking from Bonnie Hunter in July. She surprised me with this in my mailbox!

I am plodding along very slowly with the quilting of The Beast. I keep this picture of the blocks pinned to my design wall and whenever I finish a block, I cross it off.  You can see this is moving at a snail's pace, but at least it is moving.

I am quilting them by thread color (am I the only lazy quilter that does not like to change threads?). I started with all of the black blocks. Now I am doing the white ones. Then I will do the green blocks, the turquoise, the gold, and the grey. I will finish with the navy blue blocks. There are bunches of those!!

It will put a damper on anything else being quilted until this is finished. Not that I can't move this out and change the thread to quilt other things, but that is a lot of effort for a lazy quilter. :)

The winner of the "Bee" panel from my last post is Denise. I already had her address, so it is winging its way to her abode.

Until next time, 
Janet O.

In scanning through the photos I have taken this month to find what I needed for this post, I came across this one I wanted to share.Took it on March 1st.
We don't have all this snow now, but there is still plenty in the mountains. We are out of a drought for the first time in 10 years!
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