Thursday, June 9, 2022

A 25-Year-Old Finish, Flange Binding, and Chooky's Churn Dash SAL

Wyoming Valley Star is finished! Here it is on the deck off our family room.

Twenty-five years in the making, it was begun in 1997. I didn't finish the top until January of 2000. I had no sewing room, and not even a dining table to take over. I had to go to the trouble of setting up a table in the middle of the living room, and packing it all away when the family wanted their space back. That was a real deterrent to getting things finished. I wonder what I can use as an excuse now?

This is our youngest grandson, Ben. He just had a birthday on June 1st, and this was what I made for him. I didn't get a photo of the whole quilt, but here it is folded in half and laying over Ben. You get the idea.

Among other things, Ben loves Thomas The Train. I ordered this "Thomas" Fabric on Etsy, and had planned to cut out the squares with the trains and make them the center of blocks for a quilt. But our spur-of-the-moment trip to Oregon shortened the time I had to work on this project. So I just attached a couple of borders to the yardage, pin basted it, and did meander quilting over the center of the quilt. On the photos below you can see the quilting in the borders, and my first attempt at doing the flange binding I keep reading about. On the right you see the backing fabric. Ben also likes monkeys, and I found this great  monkey flannel on clearance at Village Dry Goods. Perfect!

A word about flange binding--I am really happy with this first attempt. When I have finished bindings by machine in the past, I was never pleased with the results. But I am so slow at hand binding, that when I was in a pinch, or when I knew a quilt was going to see a lot of wash-and-wear, I would grudgingly machine bind. This time around I had both of those issues involved. 

I have read so much about flange binding, and have seen such good results others have achieved, that I decided now was the time to give it a go. First stop was the tutorial by Jenny at MSQC. I felt empowered after watching, and was certain I could do this, but I watched a couple of other videos and then looked up a couple of written tutorials. If you like instructions you can print out and refer to, Sew Fresh Quilts has good photo illustrations. 

Then, fully armed, I went to work. The only thing I did differently was cutting the pieces each 1/8th inch narrower than instructed. I prefer to make my bindings slim, and the instructions create a wider binding than I wanted. I am not unhappy with the finish, but I think next time I may make the two strips each 1/4" narrower. It really is a clever method (who thinks of these things??). It is fussier prep than a regular binding, but then being able to get a classy looking finish in so much less time than a hand finish, it can be just the method you need at times.

I am keeping up (so far) with Chooky's Churn Dash SAL, making 41 9" blocks. I will be making 10 blocks a month for 3 months, but one month will be 11 blocks--I think this will be that  month. 

Chooky shared some
double churn dash blocks
she was making, and I couldn't resist trying one. The Churn Dash in the center finishes at 3". I was tempted to try and fit a 1" churn dash in the center of it (mini madness), but talked myself off that ledge--for now. I do like the double block, and think I will make a few more and sprinkle them in the quilt.

As to the giveaway for my 11 year blog anniversary, I chose a random number with a number generator, and it landed on Elaine Adair! Congrats, Elaine! I know I sent you some squares for your I Spy quilts not too long ago, but I can't find your address for the life of me. Please email it to me again, and I will get your winnings sent off to you! I discovered Elaine's blog just a few months after I started blogging 11 years ago. She makes great quilts. Check her out at the link above.

Recently hubby and I have enjoyed spending some time on our deck, using an app on his phone to identify the bird sounds that are a constant around us. So many varieties, and it is fun to be able to identify them, even if we can't see them among the leaves. This photo of a Eurasian collared dove was taken about a month ago. This honey locust tree is now leafy, and photos are harder to capture.                                          
I hope you are able to find some quiet time doing something that fills you--whether it is quilting, walks in your neighborhood, curling up with a good book, relaxing with family or friends, or just resting with your feet up. Times are stressful. Take care of yourself.

Until next time, be creative and be kind.
Janet O.

Can't leave you without sharing this lovely sunset from an evening walk last week.

Monday, May 30, 2022

Vintage Block Challenge/Monthly Mini

Last fall I signed up for Lori's (Humble Quilts Blog) Vintage Block Challenge (Click on this link to see what others did for the challenge). We were to take a vintage block and either use it "as is" to make a quilt, or deconstruct it and use the parts to make something, adding other fabrics if needed. I dragged my feet at first, but the temptation was too great. This is the vintage "block"  I received from Lori to use in the challenge.

Wonderful colors, but overall, it looked better from the front than it did from the back. It was machine stitched, but there were so many tension issues on the reverse side, along with uneven seam allowances, and really chunky seam intersections. Oh, I love a good challenge!

So I unpicked the whole thing, and gave the pieces a very gentle bath. Below they are shown after drying.

I wanted them to maintain the "aged" look, so I didn't do anything to dramatically whiten the background pieces. I cut all of these triangle pieces in half, so that instead of having 2 large stars, I could make 4 small ones. And in homage to the original, I purposefully placed one of the purple star points going the wrong direction.

Within the star blocks, all but two of the "white" squares and two of the "white" triangles are original fabric. They all would have been original if I had not wasted some of the fabric by cutting my first set of the 9 cornerstones just a bit too small. The sashing, binding, and backing are all 1930s repro fabrics from my stash.

I had hoped to hand quilt it, but a last minute trip to Oregon, and a deadline on a grandson's birthday quilt precluded that. I just did a lot of ditch stitching. And for those same reasons that I did not hand quilt this, this must also be my May Monthly Mini, with Wendy The Constant Quilter

This was a very fun challenge. Thank you to Lori for the opportunity to participate.
In case you are wondering, stay tuned for my next post where I will announce the blog anniversary giveaway winner.

Until next time,
be creative and be kind!
Janet O.

Rainbows are a symbol of hope to me, and Sunday night there was a complete bow in the sky here. We need hope more than ever right now! Please excuse the power lines--I was afraid that if I took the time to run downstairs to get a shot without them, by that time the colors would have become dull, or be completely gone.

Upon closer inspection, I saw something different about this rainbow. I zoomed in as close as my iPhone Mini would go, and you can see a little stem coming from the side of the rainbow.
Interesting--I've never seen anything like that before. Have you?

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Eleven years, and counting!

Monday, the 16th of this month, was the eleventh anniversary of my blog.  All week I had been meaning to get a post written, but things always got in the way. So I'm finally getting to it.

First I want to show you what I have been doing recently, besides binding the Wyoming Valley Star quilt. On May 10th I took a Zoom class with Lori DeJarnatt (Humble Quilts Blog). She taught us the machine appliqué method she used in creating her Blue Baskets quilt that is in the current issue of American Patchwork and Quilting. Even though I am not a fan of doing appliqué, this wasn't too bad. Who knows, I might even do it again someday! This is what I created with my basket blocks.

The dark fabric over the upper right corner was what I used for the cornerstones, and I am thinking it may be the binding, too. I wanted this to have a feminine, almost Victorian feel. I want to do a mix of hand and machine quilting on this, but with all the binding I am doing lately, I don't seem to have much time for other handwork. 

Last year I signed up for Lori's Antique Block Challenge. I am at the binding stage with my piece. The deadline is May 30th. I will be in Oregon a few days between now and then, so I need to get that finished up. This is what I received for the basis of my creation. It was machine stitched, but the tension was so poor in places, it is a miracle it was staying together.

I did deconstruct the block, and at the end of the month you will see what came of it. I had fun with this challenge.

In Chooky's last Zoom marathon the idea of a Churn Dash SAL was presented. I wasn't online at that time, but read about it later on Chooky's blog. This was my "No joining SALs" year--I was so weak about such things last year!  Can you see where this is going? Of course, I caved. I can't resist Churn Dash blocks. I decided to see if they will work as my leader/enders. The other day I pulled out the AccuQuilt dies needed to create 9" churn dash blocks (they seem huge--I make quilts smaller than that!), and I now have over half of my blocks cut, bagged, and in a basket by my machine. I made up the first one just to show you. 
I am doing them each in one color, but scrappy--so far I have just pulled fabrics from my scrap baskets. But there may not be "scraps" left in the baskets to cut more pieces this large, so I may have to move to FQs for the other blocks.

Now, as to the anniversary, I usually do a giveaway on such an occasion.This is my way of saying thanks for the years of community and friendship I have felt through blogging. Until just this year I have never belonged to a guild, and you have been my way of feeling connected to the quilting world. I cherish the friendships made here. So, there are two bars of my herbal soap, a small pincushion I made (wandering geese pattern) that will fit well in a take-along project box or bag--it is 1 1/2"x3"x1", a box of my favorite extra fine pins, a 4 1/2" square Quilters Select ruler (I LOVE these rulers), and a small Dresden ruler. It says it makes a 9" block, so it isn't really that small. I actually don't mind appliquéing Dresden blocks to their backgrounds--all the edges are finished. :)
Sorry--not trying to be mean, but I barely have time to keep up with blogging, and don't have time to hunt people down. If I can't respond directly to your comment, or find your email within your comment, you will not be included in the giveaway.

On a more upbeat note, did you see the lunar eclipse last Sunday night? It looks pretty dramatic when it comes up over the mountains. The photos don't do it justice, but I tried.

As the eclipse became full, the moon turned orange. My real camera and my phone camera struggled to capture it. My real camera couldn't get enough light to capture the color, and my phone camera got too much and made it bright and blurry, but 
at least you can tell it is orange.

I have always loved sights in the heavens, getting up in the middle of the night (or jut staying up) to view Northern Lights, meteor showers, eclipses, etc. But hubby hasn't usually been too interested. Ever since we traveled north a few years ago to see the total solar eclipse, he has shown a little more enthusiasm. And with this lunar eclipse he was the one calling to me to come see, and encouraging me to get photos. It was fun.

This was longer than I thought it would be. One of these days I am going to actually do a short post. I think I did one, once. ;)

Until next time, be creative and be kind!
Janet O.

p.s. You will find a new tab on my "pages" below my header photo. As I was thinking back on my 11 years of blogging, I was reflecting on the many bloggers I have met, and decided to make a record. You can find the link here as well. If you are a blogger, and we have met, you should find yourself there. 

Drawing Now Closed

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Quilting by check, and remembering Mom

When I pay someone else to do the quilting, it actually gets done.  Here is my finished version of Gay Bomer's Heartfelt. I finished the binding a few days ago.

It fits a queen bed, if you don't need a pillow tuck, which I never use on my own bed. Haven't decided on the destination for this quilt yet. Maybe it is already there.

I just tossed it over my bed for this photo, and I got it a bit crooked. Sorry. It really bothers me to look at it--I want to reach out and straighten it, like I would a picture on someone's wall. I didn't see the "crookedness" until I uploaded the photo to my computer. But I was too lazy to repeat the process to get a photo that wasn't crooked. 

I folded it back a little to get a photo of the backing fabric. Yup, those are bees. On the back of this staid, Civil War repro quilt there is a swarm or two of bees livening things up.

And the day after I had finished the binding on that quilt, I got a call from the quilter that my next one was finished. This had been aging in my storage for over 22 years. I love what she did with it!
Here is a closer view of the quilting.
This was made using the Wyoming Valley Star block pattern, and it was chosen for a very specific reason. Twenty-five years ago our family participated in a re-enactment of the 1847 crossing of the plains from Nebraska to Utah, representing our pioneer ancestors who were part of that experience. Our family spent 4 days and 5 nights with the trek, and we were on that journey through part of the state of Wyoming. Hence the choice of the Wyoming Valley Star block.

For months leading up to our trek experience I had been sewing clothing for the family using patterns that people have drafted from actual clothing of that era. I made 2 dresses for myself and each of our 2 daughters (nothing like making dresses from modern patterns), and after making a shirt each for my husband and our two sons, I hired someone to make the rest of their clothes. I was burned out. It was the scraps from the dresses, aprons, bonnets and shirts that became this Wyoming Valley Star quilt. 
Here we are in all our costumed glory, posing in the surrey (with the fringe on top) which our local dentist used for his family to travel on the trek. We were part of the handcart company, and walked between 14 to 22 miles per day--with a handcart in tow.
Crazy to think the children in this photo are in their 30s and 40s now! 

I wish all mothers a good Mother's Day. It isn't about having been a perfect mother. It is about doing your best to love and nurture. This is my first Mother's Day without my mother. I know I am not alone in that. It is a bit lonely to not be sharing this day with her. She was a good mom, and I know there were happy reunions in heaven when she "graduated".
This was a photo of Mom and me on our shared anniversary three years ago. Hubby brought flowers to each of us while I was helping her that day, and he took this photo of us. I prefer to remember her this way, rather than the frail little thing she had become when she passed. She was quick-witted, very good at word games, an avid quilter, reader, and gardener, an excellent seamstress, and crocheter, and she had beautiful handwriting--but she didn't like to cook. Miss you, Mom!

Until next time, be creative, and be kind.
Janet O.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

An Out Of Season Mini

Last September, Lori (Humble Quilts Blog) hosted her annual small quilt Quiltalong called Land That I Love . Though I am normally all on board for anything in red/white/blue, I was longing for some fall weather and decided to pull autumn colored scraps from my basket and use those to sew along. I made the top last fall, but I just barely got it quilted. So I am terribly out of season.

I will be linking this with Wendy (The Constant Quilter blog) for our monthly mini parade. Check out the link for the other marvelous mini makers and their creations.

I almost bound it in a matching, subtle brown, but I couldn't do it. The quilt wanted a warm color that stood out, so terra cotta was the winner.

This photo shows the quilting. Not crazy about the way I decided to quilt it. After the fact, I decided the feathered wreaths in the center were a little highbrow for this humble quilt. But I'll live with it. The pieced blocks are just stitched in the ditch.

My version of Gay Bomer's Heartfelt has come back from the quilter. I am really happy with it. I will show you an angled view so you can get an idea of the quilting, and I will give you some better peeks after I have the binding completed (just a little ways into the second side--very slow binder here).

That sums up the quilty portion of this post. I just want to take you out on the farm for a moment. 

Tell me, are you familiar with the word "gambol"? Because that is what the baby lambs do every spring, and it is so fun to watch. The other day I stood at the kitchen window and tried to zoom in with my phone--picture quality not the greatest, but it was the best I could do, under the circumstances. You have to catch them when they are in the mood. Look at the lambs in the background of these 4 shots.
The lambs will just be running along and all of a sudden they will leap up into some of the funniest positions.
Dictionary definitions will say things like "frisk or jump about playfully". The lambs have it down to a science. And that, my friends, is gamboling!
There are no photos of the babysitting llama this year, as Coco has moved on to a better world.

There is a dirt road that runs along the north side of the farm, and that is where I often go to take walks at dusk. That is my favorite time of day to be out walking. Whether I am facing east or west, I have a mountain range in front of me. These photos were taken early this week. 
This was the sight just after the sun dipped behind the end of the Wellsville range to the west. This is the mountain range I see from my sewing room.

When I turn around and head for home, I am facing the Bear River range to the east. This is the range we see from our family room or deck.

Until next time, be creative and be kind.
Janet O.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Leader/Ender At An End

These Windmill blocks have been a leader/ender project for me off and on since October 2014! This was inspired by Kathie Holland at Inspired By Antique Quilts blog (which no longer exists). I sure miss Kathie!  The blocks finish at 4". They are going to need trimming before I start sewing them together, but I am finally finished cutting and sewing blocks. This is as far as I am taking this.

I purposely did NOT try to keep like colors apart from each other. This is the most "just throw it up on the wall" I have ever done. The lighting wasn't great at night when I took this photo, but all of the colors are a couple of shades of blues, along with deep reds and blacks--and a wide range of neutrals. There are "make do" blocks all over the place. One block has 5 different fabrics. Betcha' can't find it. ;)

The shapes are cut using one of the mini acrylic templates from a set of 12 by Bay Creek Quilting. Most of the set are jelly roll friendly.  This photo of the set was lifted from the Bay Creek website. The second from the right on the top row is the one I used here. You have to cut with all of your fabric either right side up, or all of it right side down--also, always face the ruler the same direction. I once cut a bunch facing the wrong way, and I included three of those blocks in this quilt. Can you see the 3 windmills spinning the wrong way?

About the only other sewing I have done since my last post involved using up leftover sashing strips and scraps from the purple Heartfelt quilt. I got the blocks (1 1/2" finished) assembled and now I am debating, "To border, or not to border?"

I have a lovely purple paisley I had wanted to use, but it has lots of red in it, and they just didn't do anything for each other.

So many things other than quilting have been going on, and during a minute here and a minute there, along with much help from family on their Sunday visits, this puzzle finally got finished! Hubby insisted I be in the picture. Love those sea turtles!

I also finally got my father-in-law's history printed up for the family. It has taken me a year to get photos and documents found and added to the history he had written when he was 70. It took the history from 25 pages to 160 pages! I hope he would be pleased with the final result. This Tuesday will be the 102nd anniversary of his birth. He has been gone for almost 15 years.

So many people are trying to do good things to help the situation in Ukraine--and the people who are fleeing. I have been trying to support the efforts of others, including DD#2, who is a "cookier".  She made these lovely cookies based on the Ukrainian eggs, or pysanky. She has made and sold hundreds of these cookies via her Instagram account and word of mouth. I can't eat them, but I bought some and delivered them to friends and neighbors. They are so pretty!

Chookyblue has been quite the social butterfly lately, with Zoom parties almost every week. So fun to visit, even if you can only join in for a short time. I caught the tail end of it this time around, but I was glad to have a chat, while I unpicked some seams that looked like I had done them in my sleep. I probably had!

I wish all who observe Easter a blessed day of celebration. If you would like to watch a brief, but thought-provoking Easter message, click the link #Because of Him.

Leaving you with another shot of sunset over the mountains. I was driving home the other night and about 1/2 mile south of my home I had to stop (in the middle of the road) and take a picture. I knew if I waited until I got home the color would be gone--and I was right. And yes, we have had a wet and snowy week.
You should be able to click on the photo to enlarge it.

Until next time, be creative, and be kind.
Janet O.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

March Monthly Mini and More

Could not resist the alliterative title for this post.

My monthly mini is in the photo below, on the right. This is based on Pam Buda's "Glad Tidings" pattern. I couldn't finish the borders according to the pattern because I couldn't find fabrics that I liked in combination for the borders as written. The green I used in the quilt is a very old one, which I couldn't currently match, and I had used all I had in the blocks. This photo was taken in the "Christmas Corner" of my sewing room.

I had planned to make this my monthly mini last December, but was still trying to match the green, so I set it aside and made the quilt on the left in the photo above, instead. I finally faced the fact that I couldn't match the green and made do with a black Judie Rothermel print that had tiny red/green flowers printed on it, and I didn't use cornerstones. 

Since it is in holiday colors, I chose a holiday print for the backing, which you can see below. I really struggled to get photos that show the quilting well, since I couldn't get the sun streaming through the window at 9:00 p.m. This is the best I could do, with the Ott-lite on my cutting table laying on its side.

This finished at about 11"x14". I am linking this with Wendy The Constant Quilter, where you will find the list of mini-acs with links to check out their creations.

My version of Gay Bomers "Heartfelt" quilt has been delivered to my neighborhood longarm quilter. I just can't quilt everything I piece--there isn't time. 

It is about 86" square. You can see the ripples in the two lower corners. I did try to correct those, and they look better, but I didn't get a photo after the repair. I did not do any of the appliqué in the pattern, including the center medallion. I did my own setting and borders. After the fussy sashing and cornerstones I chose, I couldn't bring myself to do fussy borders. Except for the 4 corner blocks, each block contains different purples. At first I was worried that I would not have enough purples to use different ones in each block, but I had a box of purples left that I didn't even touch. (And I bought more yesterday.)

Yesterday was the final meeting of The Tiny Club at Village Dry Goods.  I have yet to get all the blocks made, but these are some of the ones I have made since my last post.

Can you believe all those tiny pieces in a 2" finished block? 
Wait until you see some of the blocks in the patterns we got yesterday! Lynn told me to let you know that if you have been waiting for the next set of patterns and rulers to be available, he will have them ready by April 7th and you can contact Village Dry Goods to get your hands on them.

Here is Lynn with one of the ways he is using his tiny blocks.

But that isn't an end to the fun I've had lately. Last week Chooky had a spur-of-the-moment Zoom session and I was able to pop in and enjoy the gals chatting and stitching for an hour.

I really need to get back into the routine of posting more than once a month, so I don't have such lengthy posts, but if you have stayed with me through it all, I thank you. 

Until next time, be creative and be kind,
Janet O.

I wanted to leave you with a peek at what makes me smile each  morning during the long winters. I have these at 5 windows in my home right now, but these two window ledges are the ones where they have been blooming all winter. Click to enlarge.