Friday, February 17, 2017

Little Finishes and Big Plans

The love birds were finally able to settle into their new spot--at least for the rest of February.
(Maybe I should have pressed it so the edges wouldn't appear so wavy. They really are straight.) I did NOT have this done in time for Valentine's Day. The last two sides of the binding were stitched down the day after. Close enough.

This was mostly hand quilted. I machine stitched around the block and the HST border. I would never want to hand quilt through all the bumps of those seams! This little jewel was appliqued by Karen (logcabinquilter blog), and it finished at 9".
Haven't named it yet, but the label is in place, just waiting for words.

As is the label on this one.
This top was whipped up about a month ago when I needed fabric therapy, and was quilted entirely with the walking foot. 
It finished at 7 1/2" x 9 1/2".

It can't decide where it wants to live for now. But come June it will come out and play with all of the other r/w/b quilts.


One more little finish. Had some of Pam Buda's Old Plum Calico line laying out in the sewing room and after making the ornaments from Dad's shirts I had to try one in these lovely colors. On a whim, I made the border a little wider than usual. I'm not sure I like the "larger" size.

As for my big plans, I purchased the backing and batting for "the beast" yesterday. I use low loft poly batting in T-shirt quilts--gives a little fluff without adding weight to the already heavy top. Now I need to baste the thing!!

So what is on the design wall now? More of Mom's scraps! I do not usually work with florals, so this is a stretch for me (help me, Debbie).

These 12" 64-patch blocks are made from scraps from a few of Mom's quilts. I started with leftovers from her watercolor quilt, but ended up having to dig into scraps from a Dresden Plate quilt and a postage stamp style (though not using 1" squares). I'm thinking about narrow sashing--possibly black? But I can't decide on setting triangles. I don't own any floral pieces large enough to fill in those spaces. I just hope this doesn't occupy the wall for a year before I can decide what to do with it!

So little happening in the sewing room, and I don't see that changing any time soon. 

Until next time,
Janet O.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

A Few Finishes and a Work In Progress

Finally got the binding on Quilters Madder. Love this SAL quilt from Lori at Humble Quilts blog.

Mine finished at 17 1/2" x 14 1/2".

Mom's birthday gift of ornaments made from Dad's shirts were completed and delivered this week.

She was thrilled with them. As usual, they finished at 2 1/2".

When I received a pincushion from Randy at Barristers Block blog back in October she had wrapped it in 5 strips of fabric.  
I immediately sewed 2 of the strips together and used them to make 4-patches as leader/enders. I knew I wanted to use the 4-patches for a little Valentine quilt, so when I needed a quick project this week for therapy, I grabbed the 4-patches and this quilt was born. I think I may call it "Sprinkled with Love." Inspired by the recent Temecula "Box of Chocolates". Finished at 7"x 9".

Progress on the little lovebird block by Karen at Log Cabin Quilter blog. I machine quilted around the block and then around the HST border.

Now I am working on hand quilting around the applique, and a cross-hatch pattern on the background.
Don't know that these little lovebirds will be ready for Valentine's Day, but it will be close. I need to set them aside for now and focus on polishing up my Sunday School lesson. : )

Our little farming community has been ravaged by severe winds and flooding this week. Prayers are with all my neighbors that are trying to stay above water, and pick up the pieces from the wind damage!

Until next time,
Janet O.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Feelin' the Love

It is in the air, and in the sewing room.
Made TWO of Temecula's little Box of Chocolates quilt. I haven't made anything from Temecula's blog for a long time, because I have a tendency to have to make multiples--up to four of one pattern! So I have avoided them for years, but I couldn't avoid this one.
The binding on the bottom one is just pinned on, so it is wavy.
Most all of the fabrics in these little quilts were given to me by a dear friend that has since passed away. I am going to send one of them to her husband as a little Valentine from her.

I am also feeling the love with these two little lovebirds. This was one of three applique blocks sent my way from Karen (logcabinquilter blog). I had plans for bordering and quilting all three, to make little seasonal quilts--one for Christmas, one for January, and this one for February, but with Dad's passing, the others haven't been touched.
Papers are still on the back of the borders, so it is not laying flat.
The pattern was from a BOM set by Bunny Hill called "A Tisket A Tasket"
This will probably be finished with a mix of hand and machine quilting. If I can get that done and then find anything that matches the shade of the light pink heart, I may have it bound by Valentine's Day. I have more to say on this one in a minute.

Finally, I am feeling Dad's love as I use his plaid shirts to make these little ornaments for my Mom's birthday gift. I had them to this stage for her birthday, but they still need stuffing.

I will also be making her a simple memory quilt from the shirts, but I wanted to have these to give her on her birthday. I will make a couple of ornaments for each of my siblings as their birthdays come along, too. If you can't tell, Dad gravitated to blue plaid shirts. These are only a few of the many, but I tried to use the smallest plaids in these. The ornaments finish at 2 1/2".

Okay, back to the lovebirds. I've seen some bloggers' frustration lately trying to make small HST borders on little quilts come out the correct size. When I use little HSTs (1/2"-1/4") like these to border a quilt I find that piecing individual HSTs and then sewing them together into a strip is often going to give you an inaccurate length border, unless you are insanely precise in your 1/4" seam (and if you are, may I please have your autograph?). When working this small, every thread you may be off is crucial to the finished product.
Even foundation piecing may not be enough if you use any of the methods that have you creating the HSTs in a grid and then cutting them apart, pressing open, trimming, and sewing them back together in a strip, such as Triangulations, shown to the right  (which, BTW, I love for other projects where I just need a bunch of HSTs to sew into blocks, and NOT into a long strip).

It really isn't wonky. It is just how it is hanging.
I used this method when I made my version of Lisa Bongean's Little Buds, and I ended up with one more HST on the top border than on the bottom. These HSTs finish at 1/2".

                       My first introduction to my preferred method was when I made this little feathered star.
The foundation pieced pattern used a long strip of HSTs, kind of "piece-as-you-go". I can't find the pattern right now, but it was something like the ones shown below. They finish at 1/4"

   You piece the HSTs in a strip, so the size is  assured.

Front, before trimming

Back, before trimming
On the photo of the back of the strip you can see the dotted lines marked 1/4" from the finished size. Those are the trimming lines.

When I need a length or size that I can't find in a pattern, I grab a ruler, fine point marker and graph paper and create my own. Then I photocopy it onto newsprint, which tears away easily when foundation piecing. 
Hope this may be helpful to someone.

Until Next time,
Janet O.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Two January Goals

I'm not real big on goal setting for my quilting. It is truly my therapy and deadlines just create more of the stress I am trying to alleviate.

But with recent events in life I have really been on hold in the quilting department and I needed a push. So I gave myself a couple of targets to aim for in January.  I wanted to stitch-in-the-ditch on my "Quilters Madder", but when I tried to get started my machine wasn't functioning. It was WAY overdue for a spa treatment, so I sent it away for a few days. I actually picked it up a week ago, but didn't have a chance to sit down and work with it until today. That baby just purred. Hasn't sounded like that in....well, I am too embarrassed to admit.
But this is what got quilted.

 I decided to do the whole thing with SITD and diagonal lines.
I made my units for this quilt half the size in Lori's directions, and I added one more row, and a border of HSTs all around. It finishes at 14 1/2" x 18".

My other target was to get "the beast" off of my design wall. I thought about just pulling it off the wall and calling it good, but that would be cheating. So while my Pfaff was away at the spa, I sat down to Nellie (my featherweight), and that little workhorse assembled the whole beast!

This is a king size quilt, so it was no small task. (This is my second quilt like this. The first one is here.)
I know some of you thought I was crazy for fussy-cutting each of the 71 sashing strips from the plaid fabric, but when I laid it out on the living room floor and stood in the loft to take this photo, I was glad I went to the extra effort. I think the blocks are so busy to start with that keeping the plaid uniform in the sashing prevents it from being a hot mess!

Here is Nellie (who is pretty proud of herself) posing with the magnetic pinbowl I won in Lisa Bongean's 12 Needful Things giveaway at Christmas time. Thanks, Lisa. :)

And more happy mail came in the form of this bundle from Sandi. What a fun early Valentine! Thank you, Sandi! If you know me you know I love useful things made from rulers and yardsticks!

This year I will be putting more effort into getting some larger UFO quilts completed, but that doesn't mean I won't slip in a mini whenever I can. In fact, I think I have earned a treat. I am going to whip up Temecula's little Box of Chocolates Valentine mini. How about you?

One last thing--Rebecca in AK won the snowman pattern from my last post. Please send me your snail mail address and I will send it your way.

Until next time,
Janet O.

From my sewing room window last evening.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Snowman Post

Last year I threatened to do a snowman post one day, and it looks like this is it. The weather is appropriate (several days of snow in our forecast). All but one of the chilly guys are wool.

Four years ago this month I took my first wool class. Lisa Bongean taught wool applique at the little shop over the mountain. We used one of the snowman blocks from her Warm Winter Blessings pattern. Not only was this my first wool experience, it was my first snowman as well. I was hooked (but I still haven't done anything with this particular block--I can't even find it).


Using the same snowman pattern, and a table runner pattern from Primitive Gatherings, I cobbled together this little snowman wall hanging.

Eventually I did make the whole Warm Winter Blessings, in the mini size, of course.
I had made one other block in the full size before switching to the mini. As you can see here, I turned that one into a pillow.

Other Primitive Gatherings snowman projects include this little candle mat, from an issue of Primitive Quilts and Projects a few years ago, which  can now be found on the Primitive Gatherings website as  Snowy Gathering.

And there is this larger candle mat, Winter Cabin, that I made in a class with Lisa at our state guild Quiltfest in 2015.

With Karen's help, I began making the 2015 Attic Heirloom ornaments of the month a couple of years ago. The first one was a snowman. I loved the little designs, but didn't like making them into the ornaments after stitching the design. So I gifted this one, and then started over again.

I made them into little quilt blocks, and after making 9 of them (3 snowmen) I decided I liked it as it was.

 Snowball, from HeartToHand was finished up last year at this time.
Looks about the same outside right now as it did then, but I think we have more snow this year.

This jolly fellow was an adaptation of a  patterned offered by Stacy at Buttermilk Basin a year or two ago. I used him to replace her last block in her free BOM last year. All of the blocks are finished, but I haven't decided if I will set them all together, or make small holiday banners with the holiday themed ones and put the others together into a smaller wall hanging.

The only snowman left is NOT wool. He is paper pieced from a free Carol Doak pattern. I reduced it a little (of course).
I made the nose on this little guy a bit too big. Maybe I should name him Jimmy Durante. : )


Have you built any snowmen lately? If you'd like to make these snowmen, say so in a comment and I will choose a name by my next post.
Until next time,
Janet O.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

2016--What Didn't Get Finished!

It was my year to finish a pile of mini quilt flimsies. I began 2016 with 30 small-to-mini quilt tops, and it was driving me crazy to have that many unfinished little quilts, with more in the works. I wish I had a photo of the 30 waiting to be quilted, but I didn't think that far ahead.
I am happy to say that the photo below shows the current pile of 2016's minis waiting for quilting.

And the two on the right are the only ones that were in the original pile of 30. They are some of the smallest minis, and yes--I am afraid to quilt them. I have purchased fine silk thread for the task, but still I drag my feet. Whatever I do, the quilting is going to be more obvious on these little things and I don't want to mess it up.
The HSTs in the top one finish at 1/4" and the Mariner's Compass in the bottom one is 3" across. These are small!!
I hope to gather my courage this year and actually get these quilted. But for right now, I am still a wimp!

So there are only 2 left from my pile of 30, but if you followed along last year you may recall that I finished 46 little quilts (well, ALMOST finished--the binding on the two below is still in the works, but I am counting them anyway). If you do the math, that means there were 18 new little quilts added in along the way. That should come as no surprise. There are always little quilts taking form here.
"Give Thanks" from Buttermilk Basin & the 10th Anniversary SAL from Primitive Gatherings
Finishes at 7 1/2 x 9 1/2
Like this one that I assembled yesterday after a long dry spell of no stitching.  Just scraps and pieces in a package from a friend that were crying out to be made into a little patriotic quilt (the 9-patches finish at 1 1/2"). Since Christmas is over, it is time to think about patriotic quilts again, isn't it? : )

I had thought that maybe I should tell myself I couldn't start any new little quilts this year until I had finished some large ones, but the truth of the matter is I could make little quilts for months to come without "starting something new". I'll show you what I mean.

I have a large collection of design boards and I often use them to hold parts for little quilts. They may be scraps from friends, or I might have some of my own scraps and leftovers that I decide could be made into another little quilt (scraps beget scraps, you know) and I lay them out to see what will come of them.There are a couple more I can't show here because they are surprises for people that read my blog.

It wouldn't be so bad if it ended there, but it doesn't.  This CD tower in my sewing room, that I have outfitted with extra shelves and wire baskets, holds scraps and parts that are also going to become small quilts one day (okay, 3 of the shelves hold parts for large quilts in early stages, but the other 7 are small quilts). They just haven't reached the "lay out on a design board" stage.

And then there is the ever present, "never finished in my lifetime" hexie project, Stars in the Garden. I actually have another flower almost finished.

 I really hope to get some large quilts finished this year--you know, make something that will actually keep people warm, and not just sit on a table or hang on a wall. I think it is time to awaken "the beast". It has been monopolizing my large design wall for most of the year. Sashing and cornerstones are both cut. It just needs to be stitched together. What am I waiting for?!?

My deepest thanks to all who have sent condolences, and for the little surprises in the mail that have brightened my day, like this cutie from sweet Julie.

 Until next time,
Janet O.

p.s. It was a winter wonderland around here until this week when the rains came. Now the snow has been greatly reduce, but it used to look like this. 

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