Friday, October 14, 2016

What do you think?

Is it possible to label quilts without labeling them? I think so. See these quilts?
View from the loft of 34 of the 43 little quilts finished this year. The other 9 have been gifted.
These are all of the little quilts that I have finished so far this year, that haven't been given away.  I have sewn a label on every single one! I am so good that way.  Where I am not so good is actually writing on the label. This is how the backs of these quilts appear--this is just a sampling.
Lovely and pristine, aren't they? Kind of hate to spoil it by actually writing on them. : )

As I began to gather the quilts from their various resting places around the house, to my horror I discovered that some little quilts I finished LAST year also sported naked labels. Shocking!
How did this happen under my watchful eye? Oh, I remember now. When the last stitch has been taken on the binding, I always tell myself I will fill in the label in a little while--and then I never seem to get to it, unless I am giving it away.

So ALL of these embarrassingly bare quilts (45 of them) were gathered and stacked on the dining room table.

Let the labeling begin!! I have had to spend much time scrolling through my blog to make sure the info I am putting on the labels is correct. Good thing it was all documented somewhere!

I don't worry about having a beautiful label, but I do believe in labeling quilts--eventually. Whew--1/3 of them are done now. I needed a break.

So I turned my attention to some wool work. Poor photo, but it shows that progress has been made.

This is all sewn together and is about 15" x 19" inches right now. Needs borders.

Will put a second border on this. Almost added a cheddar border, but now I'm not sure. I need to audition a few more Fall colors before deciding. This photo shows me I should have used a darker green on the pumpkin stems.

My swap partner in Randy's pincushion swap has finally received the package I sent her, so I can share it with you. I made a boxy-style mini log cabin pincushion for Joy at The Joyful Quilter blog.
I added a package of my handcrafted soap. You can't tell through the packaging, but one soap is a spider (cute, not spooky), and the other one is a web.  Just the things you would want to use for washing up, right?

Randy and I kind of ended up swapping pincushions as well, unofficially. I sent her one with the little quilt swap we just did, and she returned the favor with this little red/white beauty, wrapped lovingly in some strips of fabric that you know will find their way into little quilts. : )


I remembered to get a photo of my "80 minutes a week" challenge project before it was all gone. Another success! Gluten Free Orange Pecan bread. Yum!! (Actually, the recipe is for Orange Walnut Bread, but I am allergic to walnuts.)

Something is in the works that I hope to share soon. It involves a newly released fabric line in my favorite color, and one of my most favorite quilt blocks.

Until next time,
Janet O.


Friday, October 7, 2016

Closure on a swap, a test, and a quest

I participated in Randy's (barristersblock blog) pincushion swap and I received mine today. I was gobsmacked! Look at this beauty made by Kevin (kevinthequilter blog! And the back is a gorgeous solid cheddar. The photo doesn't begin to do it justice!
Kevin had emailed and asked me about my favorite colors, etc. I told him I loved CW repros and purple was my favorite color. I liked to combine it with gold/cheddar, and I would often throw some black in, too. He already seemed to know that I dabble in minis.
Did he nail it or what? I couldn't be more thrilled! It has taken up residence right by my sewing machine and has already been put to use. Makes me smile every time I see it. : )
This brings closure to my first ever group swap, and it was a grand success on my end of things. I hope the one I sent has been received.

My fusible test turned out to be a much bigger venture than I had anticipated. Rather than bore you with a long, wordy post here, I placed it as a tab under my header. If you are interested in the results, you can read it on the "Fusible Review" tab.

I will share with you all of the projects that came about as I tested the fusibles.

 This little piece is a "Front Porch Quilts" design.

                                                                                        It finishes at about 3"x7".

One of the Buttermilk Basin "Banners Through The Year" series. The pattern recommended an orange border, and I love orange. But when I was auditioning fabrics, this older Sandy Gervais print just begged to be chosen.

This is another Buttermilk Basin pattern. It will be a pillow for bowl filling. It is smaller than it looks. : )

Another Buttermilk Basin design that will be another little bowl filler pillow.  

I have three of the four blocks stitched down on this Buttermilk Basin pattern. (Can you tell I have taken a few classes from Stacy? I sure have a stash of her patterns!)

I saved the most involved block of this pattern for last. Don't know if that was the smartest move I could have made. I'm really hoping to have this ready for the holiday next month. 

This is an adaptation of a pattern by Bird in The Hand Primitives. I wanted something that would fit on this piece of wool, so I consolidated it a bit. There isn't any stitching on this yet, but I believe it will really come to life when that is completed.

As for closure on a quest, some of you know that over 1 1/2 years ago I was diagnosed with celiac disease. This was quite a blow. I loved to bake.

My first attempts at gluten free baking were dismal. I lost my baking mojo and for months at a time I would do no baking. Gradually I started to assemble a very small arsenal of recipes that were tolerable, but as someone who used to volunteer to provide baked goods whenever they were needed, I now avoided having to share the gritty, starchy products from my kitchen. Oh, to have a really good chocolate chip cookie again!
This is a shelf in my fridge.
Well, I have accepted Nancy's challenge to spend 80  minutes a week learning a new skill or working on a goal. I have gathered my courage and my gluten free flours and tackled a few recipes that have been taunting me, and I finally did it!!! 
I have finally made a gluten free chocolate chip cookie that doesn't taste like it is gluten free! No gritty texture, no starchy aftertaste, and it is soft and chewy, like a chocolate chip cookie should be!

I was elated! I finally had to freeze the rest of them because I was going to consume the whole batch if I didn't. It had been almost two years since I'd had a good chocolate chip cookie. 

And on that sweet note, I will close--
Until next time,
Janet O.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Maybe next time

I have been working on the fusible comparisons and hoped this post would include the results. But my testing just raised more questions, so I am trying out a couple more things before posting any results. So hopefully my next post will have the results for you.

In the meantime, there has been another little finish--this is small quilt finish number #43 for the year.
 This little brick quilt was made from leftovers from the swap I did with Randy.

I quilted it with the 1" clamshell stencil I bought at HMQS last May. It has sure come in handy for little quilt finishes. And I love the backing fabric on this. It was the leftover from the backing I put on Randy's quilt. I had to border it to fit this quilt, but I really like the way the bird centered in it.

I got the borders around the little Kim Diehl wool piece. I hand quilted the first little quilt I made from this pattern and now I am debating if I should do that again, or just machine quilt it and be done!

The first block of the Buttermilk Basin "Give Thanks" wall hanging is finished. Actually I finished stitching down the words, too, but I am too lazy to go get a photo.

This is one of three new small wool projects, as of tonight.
I haven't fused the other two down yet. I will be comparing the performance of the fusible products as I stitch up these projects. I decided one little wool bird was not enough stitching to get a feel for the performance of each product.

Gorgeous sunset last night--just wanted to share it.

Until next time, 
Janet O.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Sewing machine is gathering dust

...while I play in wool. This is what I have pulled together in the past couple of days.
Nothing is fused yet. I just got all of the pieces cut out and laid on their respective backgrounds to see if they were happy there. I see that the crookneck squash doesn't have much contrast with its background, but I don't know if I will change it. I really like that piece of wool.

This is from a Buttermilk Basin pattern that I ordered a while back when Stacy had a sale. I've wanted a Thanksgiving wall hanging and when I saw this, I thought it was perfect. But I had not looked carefully at the size before I ordered.
With the sloping outer walls of our dome, the places where I can hang things are limited. Quilts need to be kept to under 3' square.
This pattern is for a 42.5" x 50.5" wall hanging.
I was sad, and stuffed the pattern deep in a drawer.
But as I have been up to my elbows in Kool-Aid lately, dying wool, I have come up with some rich colors that had me wanting to do something Fall-ish.

I have gone through so much Kool-Aid this week, I have had to replenish my supply twice. I wonder if the clerks at the store think I am addicted (I don't even drink the stuff). I have raised suspicions before when buying large quantities of lye for soap making (since it is also used in meth labs). But as far as I know there aren't nefarious activities associated with Kool-Aid (but even as I typed that, Jim Jones came to mind). (That was quite a parenthetical paragraph. Uh-oh, I am posting late at night again. Can you tell?)

I decided to dig out the pattern and reduce the designs. With the help of my scanner and printer, I believe it will work out to under 30" square once the borders are attached.
Excuse the glaring light over my kitchen island. Maybe this gives you some perspective, considering the pattern beside it is standard 8 1/2" x 11".  I think it will be very cute. : )
Half of the wools I used for this piece are from thrift store clothing, and then many of them were tea-dyed, or took a bath in Kool-Aid.

Another change I made, besides the size, is in Mr. Gobbler's coloring. If you compare the pattern with my Tom Turkey, you can see mine is not so pale.
Though the soft and creamy turkey on the pattern is pretty, we have wild turkeys in our area, and their complexions aren't that nice. Of course, I haven't seen one wearing a hat either, but I still included that.

For at least a couple of years now I have been wanting to run a side-by-side comparison of the fusible products different instructors use for wool applique. Lisa Bongean recommends Lite Steam-a-Seam 2, Stacy West is in favor of Soft Fuse, and Kim Diehl uses Heat'nBond Lite. Then there is one called TransWeb, that I hadn't heard of until my friend Kris introduced me to it.
So I divided a muslin square into quarters and used a different fusible in each one to attach an identical wool bird. I kept notes on the different properties of each one up to this point. Next step is to stitch around the edges and see what differences I can detect there. I already know from experience some of what I will find, but I am curious to get a feel for each of the four products. I'll let you know what I learn.

Until next time,
Janet O.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Wooly and Wonderful Week

Thursday I did a kind of silent trunk show of wool applique at a local quilt guild to get them in the mood for the class I will be teaching for them next month. So I was trying to get a couple of WIPs to the point of flimsy so they could be in the display.
 This is a Kim Diehl design that I have made before. Still needs borders.

This was the one I made last year. I gifted it to a friend last year shortly before she died.
Then it was to go to her dear friend that had taken such good care of her during her illness.

I also added another border to Dedication Rose.
 Sometimes I love it and other times I think I will take the last border off. I'll have to ponder this one longer.

I've also spent a lot of time dying wool for the kits for next month's class, but I won't bore you with photos of that. That ends the wooly part of this post.

This is the wonderful part. Randy and I have completed our challenge. This is the quilt that arrived in the mail from her Friday. Doesn't it look great?
I love that Courthouse Steps block in the center with the other blocks forming a pattern radiating out from it. It is wonderful, Randy! Thank you so much!!
It was wrapped in this beautiful fabric. And look how fun that pieced back is!

This is what I sent to Randy.
It was really fun to swap, and we plan to try another swap when life slows down a little in the new year. Who are we kidding--does life ever really slow down?!?

The wonderfulness finished up Saturday when our church women's auxiliary brought in 5 of the Six Sisters and a bunch of their stuff.
They each spoke to us and then demonstrated some of their favorite recipes. They were inspirational, funny and delightful. DD#2 attended with me and we had a great time--laughing, crying, and eating.

This is my favorite time of year. Aside from the cooling weather, the golden hue of the sunlight and the colors of the changing leaves, I enjoy the Sandhill Cranes that migrate through our area. The other day they were so noisy and I could tell they were getting closer. I grabbed my camera and got out the door just in time to catch this. There were several more that wouldn't fit in the frame. I haven't seen this many together in our neighborhood before. I was thrilled.
This was a post of randomness, but that was my week. : )
Until next time,
Janet O.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

This may not make any sense.

I am falling asleep over the keyboard, but I wanted to quickly update a few things.
Dedication Rose (block pattern by Lisa Bongean for The Splendid Sampler) is a flimsy now.
Those HSTs finish at 1/2"--and yes, I foundation pieced them.

And the scraps from that just keep on giving.
The 4 patches will finish at 1". I may throw a border or two on this one when it is all stitched up.

My secret challenge quilt is completed and will go in the mail today. (I think this is small quilt finish #42 for the year.)
The challenge was to make a 12" square quilt using French General fabrics Randy had leftover from a recent creation. It has been fun to plan and carry out a little surprise for her. : )


Randy is also hosting a pincushion swap and she shared a link to this Schnibbles pattern. It is a free download on the moda blog (the cutting table) here. I have this pattern, and if you want to make the pincushions boxy style instead of pillow style, check out my tuffet tab under my header photo.

The scraps from the challenge quilt seem to keep multiplying, too. This little brick quilt measures about 9 1/2" by 10 3/4". I am going to bind it in the pink. It is the only fabric of which I have enough. (That sentence structure was brought to you by Mom.)

A sweet surprise arrived from a delightful blog friend, Teresa. Look at these two wonderful quilt hangers--perfect for mini quilts. They both got put to use right away! Thanks, Teresa!!

This isn't quilted yet, but I thought it was the perfect size and colors for this hanger. After it is quilted I think this will be it's home.

That seems to be all, and just in time. The toothpicks holding my eyelids open are beginning to weaken.
Until next time,
Janet O.

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