Saturday, April 19, 2014

I get by with a little help from my friends.

I've always loved braid quilts, but after trying one during the Simply Charming Every Other Month SAL last year, I was leery of the bias edges. Since any slight deviations are very obvious in mini quilts, I wasn't sure I could risk it. But when I found a foundation pattern, I knew I would give it a go.       This was made using two mini charm packs of Barbara Brackman lines--Civil War Album, and Ladies Album (thanks, Kris!). I cut each square into 3 strips to use in the braids. The outer border is also from the Ladies Album line. The braids measure 1 1/2" x 7 1/2", and the sashing is 1/4" wide. I alternated the direction the braids pointed to give a subtle chevron effect. That is about as close to "modern" as I will ever get. There are plenty of little strips left--I feel a mini rail fence coming on!
I tried the wandering geese strips of this little gem set in many different colors, but I loved it best in this blue. I tried really hard to love it with a soft purple, but it just didn't click for me. However, I didn't have enough of any one blue this shade in my Civil War repros. I tried to match it at both LQS, without success, and finally determined to "make do". I am loving the fact that this quilt is so fresh and springy looking, and came out of my CW scrap baskets. It would never have worked if I haven't been blessed in the past with scrap donations from blogging friends (thanks Karen and Carol). 
I didn't achieve my goal of having all of the sawtooth borders on this feathered star by tonight. But only one more to go. Part of the issue was that I didn't like the pink border as wide as it was when I had sewn on my first strip of HSTs. So I unpicked it and trimmed down the pink border all around so it would finish at just over 1/4", before reattaching it and adding more. I may add another narrow pink border after the sawtooth border is completed. I am thinking it may be tricky to put the binding on the sawtooth edge after the foundation papers are removed.
Some have asked me where I am getting the patterns for these minis. All of the ones pictured here are based on foundations from issues of the now out-of-print magazine, Miniature Quilts (thanks again Denise and Carole!). I didn't follow any of the patterns as written, but I used the foundations for the braids, geese, and feathered star, to form my own versions of the quilts. If you are interested, keep your eyes open for the magazines at guild swap and giveaway tables, in thrift stores and online (ebay and Etsy usually have some).

Just have to say, this may be the first guild trunk show where much of the quilts are flimsies. Pretty sure the tops I have made so far will not all get quilted in time.  : )
Until next time,
Janet O.



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

One Down--Three to Go!

I'm talking about the border made of itsy bitsy HSTs on this feathered star. They finish at 1/4"! I couldn't bring myself to make another one yet. That is labor intensive! But I am happy with how this is turning out.
The star block in the center finishes at 4 & 1/4"!
 While I had the pink repro scraps out for the feathered star, I decided to dig out more Spring-like colors to try the Wandering Geese pattern. I will make one more strip of geese and try to squeeze out enough of that blue to border the whole thing.
 I pinned up the 2 1/2" square ruler again to give you a frame of reference for the size of this. The geese finish at 1/2"x1".

While I had the happy colored scraps out, I made a couple of pineapples (2" finished) that will be turned into ornaments to hang from my Shaker peg rack for Spring decor.

Now, what you have all been waiting for--the baby lambs!
This is the view from my sewing room window lately. See that llama sitting sedately among the ewes and their babies? It is their protector and defender, chasing away stray dogs, and any other predators that may happen along. But it is something more than that. It is the babysitter (which apparently means "something that sits while babies climb on it). : )
 I stood at my sewing room window taking pictures and laughing at the antics of the lambs playing "King of the Hill" (or llama) for about 15 minutes the other day, before the llama decided that was enough, and stood up.
So cute! Even a little nuzzling amidst the play. : )

I realized my last post was my 200th. I should have had a giveaway, I guess, but next month I hit my 3 year blogiversary, so I will wait for that milestone. Stay tuned.
Until next time,
Janet O.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

No Surprises Here

 I'm still making minis. Imagine that. : )
The three pictured below are all at flimsy stage. 
This photo is misleading. Those are oversized, decorative spools.
 You may recall these houses that my friend, Annie Miksch, prepped for me as a travel project when I went to visit DD#1 last Fall. There are six more houses waiting to be stitched up. Maybe the last six won't look as wonky as these first six do. My hand stitching skills were very rusty! I already have plans for the rest of the house blocks, but I won't be trying to finish them up for the trunk show.
These houses finish at 2 3/4 inches.


This little medallion style quilt is centered around a leftover basket from an earlier quilt. The basket finished at 2 1/4 inches. The geese finish at 1/2"x1" and, yes, they are paper pieced.



Didn't you expect me to make a mini pineapple
quilt? These blocks are the same size as my little ornaments--2 inches finished. Haven't removed the papers from this yet, and I am not looking forward to that!


Next up is a tiny Feathered Star. The star block will be 4 1/4" finished. I haven't yet decided the setting for this. The pattern puts 4 of them on point, but I don't have time to do that.

I've got 5 mini flimsies that need quilting. I need to get finished with the piecing and move on to the quilting and binding very soon!

Spring is finally here, and as proof there are 19 baby lambs on the farm. Triplets were born Friday. Maybe I can get a photo of some of the cute babies tomorrow to share in my next post.
Until then,
Janet O.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Case of the Shrinking Quilt

No, I didn't have an incident with a quilt in the washing machine.
Do you recall this little quilt that I designed and made almost two years ago for my family reunion auction?
 It is 14 1/2" square. My daughter won the bid, but it was popular enough that I made another one, very similar, for the auction last year.
My brother won this one. It is the same size as the previous one, but the centers of the stars are different.
Shortly after making this second one I began making AAQI quilts. I wanted to make a patriotic one and  still had little parts and pieces left from these two quilts. Size restrictions on AAQI quilts required that I make it smaller somehow. I chose to use only 4 of the blocks, put pinwheels in the centers of both stars,  and orient the stripes all in the same direction. This ended up being 8 1/2" square.
I called this one "Stars and Stripes Forever." It was sold at the AAQI booth at the Houston Quilt Festival, so I have no idea where it ended up. If you've seen it, let me know. : )

This is my latest mini creation.
Not very good lighting on this. I made it half the size of the quilt above, so I have named it "Stars and Stripes Forever .5". It is 4 1/2" square.

I don't believe I will go any smaller on this. : )
If you are tired of minis you may want to skip my next few posts. I'm sure there will be more to come.
Until next time,
Janet O.



Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mini Progress

Just little things going on here. The 2 1/2 inch ruler is there again to give you perspective.
Storm at Sea Just needs quilting, and so does the Churn Dash and Chains. It will be bound in the green that is dangling beside it.
I decided to do a little medallion quilt from a leftover basket. I am surrounding it with flying geese. Only one side done so far.
Some leftover little green strips from the Churn Dash and Chains became little 4-Patch blocks in the tiny Stairway to Heaven.
And the Mariners Compass is getting surrounded with circling geese. I have a plan of another round after that. We'll see if I can get the circle of geese to work first.

I have two more minis I want to get made before the trunk show and then it will be a mini quilting marathon here!!

Thanks to a couple of good friends, I am well supplied with material for my mini trunk show. Look what arrived in my mail this past week! These are such treasures, and you can see I have marked just a few patterns to try. : )
Many thanks to Denise and Carole!!!

Have I mentioned that my two 20-something sons had gone to Iceland with a few friends over Spring Break? This is what came home with them for me.
A sweet little Nativity made from Icelandic wool--don't you think it needs its own little wool mat with some stars stitched around the edge?
And then there is this guilty pleasure.
Apparently black licorice is a favorite treat in Iceland--and I am the beneficiary. I can't read the labels but it all tastes good!
My sons know their Mama! : )

Like everyone else, we are having very fickle weather. After a snowstorm that melted quickly in the valley, but blanketed the mountains, I caught this shot. If you look carefully you can see my BIL's two donkeys and the llama.
Until next time,
Janet O.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Next up!

Now that my version of Orca Bay is bordered, the next UFO on my design wall is this set of star blocks. This was one of the free block patterns I picked up on my first shop hop years ago. I made the blocks entirely from scraps and remnants. There are no fabric repeats in the center squares.
These blocks have been kicking around the closet for a few years. Time to get them put together. I'm thinking about a Garden Maze setting.

 I have been playing with some mini quilt ideas. The Storm at Sea is 8" square and was foundation pieced. I plan to border this one. With all of the seams so close together, I pressed them open, forgetting that I had planned to SITD. Now I don't know how to quilt it. Any ideas?
 The Churn Dash & Chains blocks will finish at 1 1/2".  I'll be making more of both blocks. They are not foundation pieced, so they look a little wonky. The Mariner's Compass is just over 3". Haven't decided if I will be making more of those. (I pinned that 2 1/2" square ruler on the design wall to give you some size perspective on these little things.)

I'm afraid that until this trunk show has come and gone, I will be consumed with mini making. At least it may make for some shorter posts. : )

Until next time,
Janet O.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

UFOs dropping like flies--kind of.


This is Bonnie Hunter's Smoky Mountain Stars free pattern, which I made entirely from men's shirts and named Rocky Mountain Christmas. Last time this was on my wall (years ago) I was struggling with whether or not to use the bonus triangles the stars created to make a sawtooth border.
 I finally decided it was too busy and distracted from the simplicity of the stars, but I put it away without attaching the borders that were already cut. How lame is that? Now it is bordered and we are both happy!

Currently on the design wall is another Bonnie Hunter pattern--her mystery from about 3 years ago--Orca Bay. It only needs the final border pieced and attached.
I made this one entirely from men's shirts, as well. I had planned to name it Sunset over the Rockies (Yes, I love my Rocky Mountains), but ended up going with Sunset over the Men's Department, instead. Bonnie's borders are always piecing masterpieces, but I run out of energy by the time I get to the border--and I like some calm areas for the eyes to rest, so I just used straight borders. If you enlarge the photo you can probably see that there is a small plaid design to the orange border. I had to fussy cut it so that the stripes of the plaid would match when I sew the pieces together (yes, I HAD to do that!!). Good thing it was a very large shirt!

Of course, there is still the small stuff happening. This is the piece I mentioned in my last post that I was going to quilt with an all-over design. It didn't happen. I had every intention, but I just couldn't do it. Those 9-patches were crying out for straight lines criss-crossing through them, and those snowball blocks wanted their own design. So "Herald Angels", a flimsy from 2012, got custom quilting, in spite of my plans.






My pictures usually load straight, but this one wouldn't. You can click on it to see the quilting, and just ignore the thread nests and toe-catchers. I was trying straight line quilting using rulers on Gidget, instead of my walking foot on my Pfaff. It was a new experience--one I will try again, but selectively.

That is it for the UFOs this post. Now for the new stuff.

A few months ago, on Diane's blog I saw the cutest little quilt for a cat lover. She gave the link and I ordered it immediately, thinking I would make it for my Mother's birthday in February. But time got away from me and that didn't happen. I consoled myself that there was Mother's Day in a few months and I could shoot for that. When I started this little thing last week I could not stop.
Cat Nap. Finished at 9 1/2" x 11".
The pattern called for just a little knot for each eye and a knot for the nose. I had to add a little more detail to the face and ears. I finished the binding last night, and I couldn't wait until Mother's Day. I dropped it by my Mom's today. She was so surprised, and really loved it. She has been a quilter for about half a century, and is a cat lover, so it was ideal for her.
It is paper pieced, and I used all scraps from my Mom's quilts to make it, except the cat fur fabric (thanks, Annie). I machine quilted the border, and SITD, but hand quilted the cross-hatching in the background.

Somehow I got talked into doing a trunk show for a local "Small & Miniature Quilts" guild. Do you all have a friend or two to whom you just can't say "No"? My reaction was, "What, me? Who am I to do a show, and I don't keep most of what I make, anyway, so what would I show?"
Somehow my protests didn't work, so now I am scrambling to make some of those miniature quilts that keep dancing in my head. Luckily, the show isn't until May!
"Scrap Baskets". The basket blocks are 2".
This will finish at 9", with a tone-on-tone brown binding.
This little basket quilt is waiting for feathers in the setting triangles. You can faintly see the white line I have drawn to keep my feathers out of the binding zone. I have done SITD around the baskets and blocks. I am trying to decide whether or not to quilt on the wavy line through the sashing with a matching thread.

Another Rocky Mountain photo for you. On my morning walk a few days ago the clouds were dark and the mountains were white. The wind was whipping at the peaks and you could see the snow whirling in the air against the dark backdrop. Enlarge the photo for a better look.
I know we have had enough of winter, but I love nature cloaked in white.
Until next time,
Janet O.



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