Sunday, March 31, 2013

Did I really do this?


That is what I ask myself when I look at the progress on my Little Buds project from Primitive Gatherings. Even as I ordered this kit I was chiding myself to get real, thinking I would never really get it made. I surprised myself. It is almost finished!!
I just have the 1/2" finished HST border to make and I am waiting for the Thangles to arrive by mail in order to make that. When that is added this will finish at 10 1/2" x 14 1/2"--teeny tiny. The little flower blocks are 2" x 2 1/2" finished and the colored strips around them finish at 1/4"!

I had a bunch of those little strips leftover because many of the first ones I cut were brighter than I wanted, once I laid them around the blocks and stood back and observed. You know I have to play with my leftovers, and this is what came of them. It is around 10" square.

And now, the moment we have all been anticipating (not!). Here is the Easter mini waiting to have the binding sewn down. It isn't the best angle, but you can see the quilting best in this photo.
 I so appreciate all of the suggestions. I tried to reply to everyone, but I ran into a few "no-reply" bloggers. If you didn't hear back from me you may want to check your settings (unless you prefer not to receive replies to your comments).
You should have seen my sewing room when I was trying out all of the options. I had a design board propped against a dresser and a pile of fabric around it on the floor. I had two pages of possibilities I had printed out from all of the comments and I tried to come as close to each suggestion as I could with the fabrics I had on hand. Sometimes your idea prompted new ideas. Twice I thought I had the answer, but when I would look at the photo of it on the computer I would change my mind. I even got a border sewn completely on and removed it. I'm happy with the final result, but why couldn't it have come easier?!?
I had lots of little 4-patches left. I had made enough to use as cornerstones if I sashed between the blocks. Of course, I had to do something with those. The 4-patches finish at 1".

My mailbox has been really good to me this week. Carol (Brown Quilts blog) sent a little package of scraps for my Small Sums (mini version of Charming Addition). She had been the lucky recipient of scraps from Kathie (Inspired By Antique Quilts blog), the pattern designer, to put in her quilt and she was kind enough to forward leftovers to me, along with a bunch of scraps from her. I have been busy cutting them up and I have almost got them finished. It will be a great scrap quilt with reminders of friends in it. Thanks so much, Carol (and Kathie, indirectly). This has been fun to "add" your fabrics to my version of Charming Addition!
Then I purchased a little AAQI quilt from the last batch submitted by Lori (Humble Quilts blog). It came this week and immediately went up on my wall. It is called Dark Side. You can read about Lori's quilts, and the meaning behind their names, here

Today there were two more packages in my mailbox, neither of which was expected. That kind is always the most fun!  My sweet friend, Doniene (Now It's Just Quilts blog), had thought of me when she saw some Fall fabrics on sale (my favorite season and color palette). She is a very generous woman, and she sent me some of these goodies. I would work on Fall projects all year if I could, but I try to pace myself.  I am already thinking of what I will be doing with them. Thank you, my dear!                                                                   


The second package contained this lovely little quilt from a "no blog" quilt friend, Annie Miksch. She loves to do applique and she knows I am applique-challenged. When she saw the photo on my blog of my little quilt corner, she felt it needed a dash of applique. She was so right!  She created this little beauty based on a Lori Smith pattern.                         Annie and I have become acquainted through emails as she has commented on things on my blog. I know her to be a kind, thoughtful woman, but I was taken completely by surprise by this gift. Isn't it beautiful? I will cherish it, as I do each of these little quilts that connect me in one way or another to a quilter I have met via the internet.

We have finally been enjoying some lovely Spring weather around here and I look forward to a beautiful Easter Day.
Until next time, 
Janet O.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Help, I'm stuck!

Last year I had printed out a few free applique shapes from a couple of websites and had grand intentions of making my second attempt at fused applique by creating some cute Easter thing with them. It never happened. So today I dug out those shapes, pulled out my repurposed, Kool Aid dyed wool and started one of those "design-as-you-go" projects (I prefer that to "fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants"--sounds more intentional, or dignified, or something). I got the blocks made, but am struggling to decide how to set them. I'm keeping it simple, but I'm struggling with color options for the border/sashing.
Is the black border too overpowering? I'm trying to stay with the colors in the wool, and since I have already used them all in the block borders, I didn't know what to do for a main border. I would probably bind in purple or pink. I will admit that I was influenced by the Little Buds I have been working on--all of the color against black is so striking, but does it work here?

 Should I put a narrow black sashing between the blocks?
Or should I stick to the tan for sashing/borders (but not necessarily this tan--it was just handy). I could bind this in the pink or purple--or even black.
If you have any other suggestions, I'm open to them. Just remember I don't want to complicate it (for once). I want a border, and I would prefer it not be pieced--the sashing is optional. What would you do?

I realize I have overlooked sharing this runner. I finished it a couple of weeks ago, but was sending it to DD#1 in NH for her birthday and I didn't want to post it until she had seen it. After she had seen it I forgot to post it. I call this one Patches of Fall. She wanted Fall colors and I made this from the Simply Charming book (with just a few additional blocks) and will eventually link this up for the next  Every Other Month Mini Sew Along. 
Can you believe it? That's all I have--of course I just barely posted, so that explains it. : )
Until next time (which won't be so soon),
Janet O.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Too Stinkin' Cute!

These little flowers just make me happy!
 You might recall from my post about Lisa's (Primitive Gatherings) trunk show, here, that this pattern comes in two sizes, the tiny one called Little Buds, which finishes at 10 1/2" x 14 1'2".
Then there is Bud Garden, which is 20" x 29" and on a black background instead of tan. At the trunk show I had such a hard time deciding between these two kits. I loved the tiny Little Buds quilt, but the black background of Bud Garden was so striking to me.

So I ordered Little Buds and switched out the background tans for a black houndstooth check I had in my stash. The outer black border will be more of a mottled solid black (is that an oxymoron, mottled solid?). I am not experienced with wool applique, and the stitchery instructions in the pattern are not extremely detailed, so I find myself with questions and I'm making up the answers. I think a reasonable level of experience is assumed, and I'm not there. These pieces are so tiny, the instructions say to use 50 weight cotton thread for the blanket stitch. There are other stitched details, but no instructions that I can find as to what size thread or floss would achieve the look in the photo. I'm learning by trial and error.
This is the first block I have stitched so far.  The photo gives you a size perspective. The yellow iris beard stitching obviously needed to be with a heavier thread or floss. I will have to redo that. In spite of my questions, I am loving this project.       
 I finally finished the last little Valentine quiltlet. It is already for next year. This photo shows the quilting to its best advantage. In keeping with my "Year of the Feather" I put free form feathers in the setting triangles and outer border. I used a couple of favorite stencils for the 9-patches and sashing designs.
Here it is all bound and sitting on the table it will most likely grace next Valentine's Day.


And if we are talking "stinkin' cute", I'd better show you these. I signed up last year for Julie's Charm Bracelet program. These two arrived today. The pineapple block was an extra optional purchase, which I was thrilled to get. Julie does an incredible job on these 3/4" charms.

This is the bracelet so far. I believe there are two more charms to come. This is so fun--when I am not wearing it I hang it in my sewing room. It deserves to be seen, not hidden in a drawer somewhere.

 I got the Coins in the Clover tumbler mini sewn together. This will get a simple stippling treatment and be bound in green. Hopefully I will get to that before the month is out and it will be ready for next St. Patrick's day. I like to think of it as always being ready way ahead of time, rather than getting everything finished too late. : )   






 Finally, I have sewn up 6 more blocks for my Scrappy Trips quilt. This is what I have so far. If I just use what I have cut I am 3 blocks away from the halfway mark, but I may enlarge this one. I think I would like it to be bed size, if I have enough of the KT fabrics left to pull it off. 
Another long post. So sorry. Go take a nap--you've earned it. : )
Until next time,
Janet O.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Wearin' of the Green



I know there is a lot of talk around blog land about celebrating National Quilting Day, but around our family this weekend is all about St. Patrick's Day and DD#1's birthday. I FINALLY finished up this little table topper that I started last year to help add to the festivities. It is from a free APQ pattern and I named it Irish Clover. There are many decorations around the house, but this is the only quilty one. So last night, while watching one of our three favorite movies for the holiday week,     and cutting up squares from my just arrived Homestead Hearth scrap bags for this project by Kathie Holland (which I am making in miniature),
I also pulled out my Primitive Gatherings Tiny Tumbler template, along with some greens, golds and neutrals, and cut out this. I'm calling it Coins in the Clover. It won't be ready for this year, obviously, but hopefully next year my one green table topper won't be alone on St, Patrick's Day.
I had no idea how large I was going to make this, so I just cut until I'd made tumblers from a strip of each fabric in the pile. I sat with the design board in my lap and arranged the tumblers until I thought it was finished.

And speaking of finished, Abundance finally got completed. I do love how it turned out. I don't hand quilt much anymore, but this was a nice little project to take along in the car or pull out in the evening when I was too tired to sit at my machine.
This little Willow Tree angel seemed to express well my feelings about the abundance in my life.
When I got my new cutting station recently it necessitated the rearranging of my sewing room. I have been trying to create my wall of little quilts, but I don't have enough of them finished to make an entire wall. I have created my quilt corner, for now, and most of them have special meaning, thanks to my quilt blog friends.
Top left is one of Lori D.'s AAQI quilts that I was lucky enough to get before it was snatched by someone else. Below that is a lovely purple churndash that was a b'day gift from my sweet friend, Doniene. She knows I love that color and that block! What a treasure. Bottom left is the piece I shared last post made from leftovers of one of Kathie's quilts. The top of the next column has the latest addition to my wall--tiny purple flying geese obtained in a very lopsided swap from Barb. (Can you believe how itty bitty they are?) I still owe her. Below that is another AAQI quilt. This one was a collaborative effort between Kathie H. and Lori D. You have to be fast to get in on these. Bottom of that column has the lovely fall colored piece that came from Doniene early on in our friendship. She is such a thoughtful woman! I have given away most of the minis I have made, but the three quiltlets on the right are still with me.

I love this corner--it makes me smile! Someday maybe I will have a wall of little quilts. I have so many in varies stages of unfinished. I have told myself that I can't start another new mini unless I finish two WIP minis. We'll see how long that lasts. (Do you love the conviction I demonstrate?) I have one I have been wanting to start, so with these two finishes I have now given myself permission! : )

I am plugging along on Easy Street and Scrappy Trips (two free Bonnie Hunter patterns), but I have another large quilt I will be starting soon (from one of Judy L.'s books). I promised my Mom, so I need to get working on it. It isn't for her, but we were together when I bought the fabric and she can't understand why I haven't made it yet. This is the woman who makes one or two quilts a year (hand quilted), and doesn't start another until the last one is finished! I did not inherit those qualities from her, but I'd probably be a lot more content if I had.

Have a very productive National Quilting Day tomorrow!
Janet O.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Minutia

This post is a rundown on recent small quilt happenings. Just a string of little things.

At quiltsbycheri blog there has been a SAL for three little quilts made from 9-patches. She called this "Gathering Patches." 

I made enough blocks for the first two (wish I'd made the third one, too). This was the first. It is finished and in its new home. I bound it in red, as threatened.

The second one is still in flimsy stage. It did not have a border as Cheri made it, but I'm toying with the idea of putting one on mine. I am a border gal--not necessarily fancy ones, but I do like the look of a border. I know many vintage quilts did not use them, but I struggle to leave them off. Cheri's was also bound in cream. I've been trying to talk myself into that, too.

January's SAL at quiltsbycheri was "Counting Down The Hours", which I showed in my last post. I now have it bound.

 Does anyone remember this little quilt? Sometime last year Kathie Holland (inspiredbyantiquequilts blog) made a cheddar/red/green 9-patch set on point. She offered the trimmings when she squared up the sides and I was happy to receive them. I put this top together right away, but couldn't decided on the quilting, so it went in the closet. I wanted to do Baptist Fans, but I wasn't sure how to do it with FMQ. I finally found a way to mark them that worked for me. This was my first attempt and I went wonky a few times, but no unpicking.

I got Abundance (Lori's QAL at Humble Quilts) hand quilted and have machine sewn the binding. On the right you see it with what I call Irish Clover. I made it last year for St. Patrick's Day and started machine quilting it, but couldn't decide how to finish it. I finally got it done and have the binding machine sewn on. Maybe I will actually finish it before St Patrick's Day this year!  Now for some hand stitching on the binding of these two.







The little quilt above was made with scraps from an exchange with Sandi at kwiltnkats blog. I tried a feather swirl design to quilt it. I have decided that variegated thread isn't the best choice when doing "bump, bump" feathers. Backtracking is much more obvious when the thread changes color as you are retracing your stitches.
That's it for the mini quilt progress, but there will be more. I still have a few mini flimsies that I am determined to get finished before I pile too many more on.
Now I want to show you the latest addition to my sewing room. I've been saving my pennies since some time last year so that I could retire the kitchen island as my cutting surface. What a relief--for many reasons, that I won't go into here.
 Last month this was delivered to my house and today I went to the local JoAnn store with a 50% coupon and got the 2'x3' cutting board. I love my cutting station! I chose the option with the open shelf below the cutting surface. Not only was it a little less expensive that way, but it turned out that it is a perfect fit for one of my scrap baskets. Serendipity!


If you need me, I'll be in my sewing room--cutting things. : )
Janet O.


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