Sunday, March 25, 2012

Here we go again!

More baskets! I couldn't help it. Temecula Blessings Basket #4 was posted on Thursday and as you probably already know, I am making 4 different sets. So far this has been my favorite, in spite of the fact that I have had to unpick and reassemble two of the blocks due to sewing machine operator error!
I chose the colors based on that strip of batik to the side. That piece, along with a considerable length of binding, were in the scrap basket I used to raid regularly at a now closed LQS. I will be binding it with this.
Then there is the set that makes me think of the color blindness test photos that used to fascinate me in the World Book Encyclopedia. Does anyone know of what I speak?
Next there is the set in a variety of CW scraps. It has been fun to choose random scraps to put these together. I just had to work a purple basket in, though. That was not random!
And finally, the set that I started out to make before things ran amuck--CW scraps in blues and browns.
I am curious to see what the setting is for these blocks--and even more curious to see if I follow it.
We aren't finished with baskets yet--sorry! Recently I had downloaded the pattern for this Spring Baskets quilt from the All People Quilt website. You can find the pattern here.
As I was preparing to put it away last week I had a thought. My Mom gives me all of the scraps, leftover pieces and yardage whenever she finishes a quilt. The one she just finished hand quilting produced a considerable number of bonus triangles, which she would be inclined to throw away, but she knows to save them for me. I wondered if they could be trimmed to make this basket design, though they would have to be smaller than the pattern indicates. Most of the the triangles are not very large.
This design board shows the jumble of squares with which I begin and then the finished Spring Baskets block that is the end result.

These baskets are finishing at 5 1/2" and I have enough triangles to make 5 or 6 blocks.
And last, but not least, Randy posted more Barrister's Sow-Along blocks and I needed to catch up. And wouldn't you know it--there is a basket block among this group. I am making a second set of these blocks in Christmas fabrics, but I haven't made it that far yet. Here are the plaid versions for what I am thinking I may call "Barrister's Day Off".
The block in the upper left corner was assembled using bonus triangles from my Rocky Mountain Christmas quilt, so I didn't follow the color layout--just used what I had. Not sure that was a good choice, but I am going to live with it. 
Primitive Gatherings Picnic Quilt is nearly ready to assemble into flimsy stage.  I think this would be a fun quilt in red/white/blue. I think I will eventually have to make another one of these! (You may be wondering what this quilt has to do with baskets. Picnic quilt--basket--picnic basket--get it? I know, that was pretty weak.)
So that is enough of baskets for now. (*Huge sigh of relief!*)
I'll leave you with this shot that I caught (with the less than stellar zoom on my point-and-shoot camera) from my kitchen window a couple of days ago.
Happy Spring!!
Janet O.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Barrister's Blocks and a bevy of baskets!

I encouraged Randy to post more bonus blocks on her Barrister's Sow-A-Long and then I wondered what I was thinking. After all, it isn't like I lack for projects, but I just can't resist these little blocks in plaid. Here are the two latest additions. I made the one in greens in honor of the current holiday.
I don't know that I put enough contrast in the 4-patches of Prairie Queen, but I'm going to live with it.
Then there are the two blocks done in Christmas scraps. I went a little dotty on these!
                                                                                                                                                                     
I'm not always following the value placement of the original blocks--just working with the scraps on hand and whatever surfaces in the remnant table of the LQS.

Okay, now for confession time. It is supposed to be good for the soul. I hope so. I have seen the little Temecula Quilt Blessings Baskets SAL on other blogs and I thought they were incredibly cute. The baskets finish at 4 inches. I've always loved basket quilts, but I've never made one. I did the Temecula 12 Days of Christmas SAL and it was a fun little thing. The blocks are small so it goes together quickly, right? So why not do these little baskets?

I've had some blue and brown CW repro fabrics kicking around that I had wanted to transform into a mini of some sort--why not baskets? So I pulled them out and started cutting.

Yep, I see the error in the bottom right.
This was Thursday, when the third basket was posted. I got all three cut in the blue and brown and thought, "I bet these would look really cute in those 30s scraps I have."
These make me think of those color-
blindness test pictures in the old
encyclopedias.



So that box found its way to the cutting table and I went through the process again, BUT... as I pulled out the 30s box I saw that it was right on top of my batik scraps box. Wouldn't these look cool in batiks with black as the background? Of course!! So those came out, too.

After I had finished cutting I was putting the blue and brown repro scraps into my CW scrap basket and thought, "Why not do another CW scrap set in random colors?" (I need to stop asking myself these questions. I give all the wrong answers.) So that started a FOURTH set of baskets.

I will even admit that I considered doing another set in Kaffe Fassett scraps, but the prints are too large to be effective in these little pieces. Then there was the idea of a fall theme in a Sandy Gervais print. Stop already! I had to draw the line somewhere!
I have been stitching up these little beauties as leader/enders while putting together this.
Here we have Primitive Gatherings Picnic Quilt #2. You can see #1 here. All of the missing blocks are in strips awaiting sewing together. I am using a collection of background colors that are not as dark as I used the first time around. There will also be one more final border, as on #1, but I think I will use blue on this one (because I found enough of that color at a LQS and bought it while it was available. No one in my area carries a very large selection of KT fabrics on a regular basis).
So Happy National Quilting day. I am making the most of it.
Until next time,
Janet O.
P.S. Happy St. Paddy's Day, too!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

And "Sow" it Goes!

If you have been "Sowing" along with Randy at Barristers Block blog, you are aware of changes made to our "Sow-A-Long", due to circumstances beyond her control. It is now the Barrister's Sow-Along, and in support of her efforts on our behalf, I have added her button to my blog. My third installment of blocks are finished and shown below. I did add a handle to the basket by redrafting one of the Temecula Quilts Blessings Basket patterns to fit this size.
I am loving these blocks in plaids. I am forcing myself not to fussy-cut. It is hard not to sometimes. The middle block above was made with that lovely purple plaid shirt Doniene sent me and it was so tempting to cut it so that the design was symmetrical. But I restrained myself. I am trying to go for more of a "make do" look.
Here are all 9 of them together. Aren't they fun?
Some of you are aware that with the second set of blocks Randy posted, I decided to make a second set of the blocks in Christmas scraps. Then I discovered I didn't have that many Christmas scraps. Randy generously donated half of hers and my Mother sent a few my way as well. So here are the six Christmas blocks I have made so far. This will be a very random collection of Christmas blocks when all is said and done.

Finally, if you saw my last post you may recognize the center of this runner.
It was made from the leftover pieces of the table topper I had made. But when I tried it out under my soup tureen on my hutch, I realized it was too small. Hardly anything showed beyond the edge of the tureen. So I made a couple of stars to lengthen the thing and made plenty of mistakes in the process. Can you see that one set of the star points are switched? I didn't notice that until I was basting it for quilting and at that point I just turned the other cheek. It is all quilted and bound. Yippee!
Next post I hope to show you the progress on my second Primitive Gatherings Picnic Quilt. It is coming along well.
Until then,
Janet O.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Welcome March!

Do you do much decorating with a St. Patrick's Day theme? Since DH was a missionary in Ireland for 2 years, back in his youth, and has some distant Irish ancestry, we usually try to celebrate in some (non-alcoholic) way. The limited decorations would come out the beginning of March and on the day itself we would usually watch the John Wayne/Maureen O'Hara classic, "The Quiet Man", while feasting on potato soup, soda bread, ginger ale, and finishing up with shortbread. This year I realized how truly limited the decor is. I found the pattern for this little quilt above in a recent online newsletter from APQ and it cried out to be made in greens. It finishes up at a 22" square.
After getting it stitched together (and making a few cutting errors along the way) I scraped together the leftover cuttings and sewed up this little piece--about 9" square. Now I need to get these two items quilted so they can sit on my hutch and dining table.

Oh, I think I have found my feathered friend, as far as quilting goes. If you read my last post you know that I am not overly fond of my FMQ feathers. Today I remembered a FMQ pattern book and DVD a friend loaned me recently. Have you heard of the Pajama Quilter? She lives somewhere north of me in Idaho and she is a longarm quilter who has put together some designs that have been successful for her. Watching the dvd was an interesting experience--she sits in her pajamas with a large whiteboard in her lap and shows you how to draw the designs. Then they are shown being quilted on the longarm. And when you get frustrated with your attempts she recommends having chocolate nearby in an unlikely container that no one else will suspect.
You can get a workbook, dvd or both. Anyway, I remembered that one of her patterns that had intrigued me the most was what she called "Wonky Feathers". After my frustration with formal feathers I thought maybe it would be fun to try the wonky approach. Now these are my kind of feathers!! It is not so much a border as an overall pattern, and it loops and swirls every which way. There is no need for an exacting 1/8" echo or getting the feather shapes teardrop perfect. It is just fun, and flowy and freeing! This was my first attempt and I'm sure I can improve on this with some repetition (unlike my repeated efforts with the more formal look). I took a photo without flash because the shadows improve visibility. I actually enjoyed doing these feathers!!
Have you tried anything like this?

I need to mention a couple of other things. When I shared the fun mail I had received a couple of posts back I inadvertently left out this little gift that almost got thrown away before it even got opened, but that's another story (which I shared with the sender).
Nancy, who blogs near Philadelphia, sent me this fun little mug rug she had made. That is a woman with a tube of hair gel and I could swear that somehow Nancy has seen me after I wash my long hair and knows I could benefit from the application of something to bring it under control.  : )  Thanks so much, Nancy!!
The other cool thing that just arrived was this book that I won on Julie's blog giveaway! I can't believe I won it. I gave away the first volume on my blog last year and loved it enough to buy myself one. I was very excited to see this one and am thrilled to own it. Little quilts have really become  a passion for me thanks to bloggers like Kathie, and Dawn, among others.
I can't wait to break out the charm packs and get stitching! Wonder when I can fit that in?
Well, I have tried yet again to fit too much into one post, but if you have been following me for any length of time you are probably used to that. : )
So, until next time,
Janet O.
p.s. My thoughts and prayers are with those in the path of the tornadoes. Please post soon if you can to let us know how you have fared!
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