Wednesday, June 7, 2023

The Well-Traveled Quilt!

I mentioned in my last post that I was awaiting the arrival of the doll quilt I was to receive from the Humble Quilts 10th annual doll quilt swap. Little did I know that it had already arrived--and been sent back again, due to an error on the part of my local post office. Happy to announce that it was sent again by the talented creator, Marian Edwards of Victoria Australia, and it arrived yesterday! Here it is!

Isn't this adorable? If you ever followed Marian's blog (not active, but still there), or currently follow her on Instagram, you will recognize her style. It is just perfect. It is all hand quilted, and washed to give it that scrunchy, vintage look. Lori tells us the quilts are to look like they traveled through time, and Marian has always been so good at that. Here are a couple of other shots from my photo shoot with it.

It finished at 9 1/2" x 12".

Even though Marian works with 1800s repro fabrics (and some consider those drab), she always manages to create something saturated with color. I am totally thrilled with this little beauty!

It came in such clever wrapping--pattern pieces, for those of you who may never have done clothing construction.

I am saving that tag to use as a bookmark. One can never have too many books or bookmarks.

Thank you to Lori for hosting the swap, and thank you so much to Marian, who was kind enough to send this twice--all the way from Australia!

I actually have more items of a quilty nature to share, but I will save them for another post, and end with these photos of a rainbow we saw here a couple of weeks ago. My daughter-in-law (who has a degree in photography, among other things) captured this first photo of the total arc.

Within a few minutes the right side was fading and the left side grew brighter. I took these next two.

Can you spot the horse in the photo above?

We just returned from a quick trip to Oregon.  We didn't get out much, due to several family members suffering from severe allergies, with the pollen count sky high. But we did enjoy time together as a family as we supported our youngest granddaughter in her decision to be baptized (in our church that doesn't occur before age 8).

Next time I will finally have the promised drawing for my 12th anniversary of blogging. Until then, be creative and be kind!!

Janet O.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

A Dozen Years Ago Today (as in the 16th, when I am typing this)....

...I started this blog. I can hardly believe it has been that long. It has been quite a ride, one for which I am very grateful (proper sentence structure brought to you by my mother's training--sometimes it kicks in). ;)

During the 12 years I have been blogging, Lori at Humble Quilts blog has hosted a doll quilt swap 10 of those years. This is only my second year participating. I haven't received my quilt yet, but the gal I sent to has received hers so I can share it with you. This is the doll quilt I made. It is from a pattern from Jo Morton's Little Women's Club #14, I believe.

I took several glamor shots around the house before I sent it on its way, but the one below is the only one I even kind of liked.

I combined a little bit of hand quilting with the machine quilting. In the blue/grey triangles I hand quilted a grid pattern on point. I don't know if you can see it any better in this shot of the back.

When I receive my quilt I will share it with you in my next post. I am looking forward to it.

I amazed myself and pushed past my usual tendency to postpone attaching borders, and today I put a small border around my Moda Love quilt top. This was made in conjunction with Chooky and friends at Scrub Stitchin', where many at that retreat completed one of these quilts. 

When I cut these borders I barely had enough of this piece of a Kansas Troubles green print to cut 4 1/2" strips for the border. I got them all cut and as I laid them out around the completed center, I realized I had cut the last one at 4" instead of 4 1/2". There was only a strip about 2" wide left after having cut these. There was nothing left to do but go back and trim 1/2" off the other 3 borders. I would have liked the border to be a little wider, but I did what I could, and I still think this looks better with that small border than with no border at all. I felt like I needed to balance the green in the center.

On Mother's Day I finished the puzzle I've had out for months--Northern Lights in Norway. The sky and sea parts were a bit challenging, but I like a little challenge now and then. I thought it was fun that I had this puzzle out when we saw the Northern Lights here a few weeks ago.

I hope people had a pleasant Mother's Day. Though we did not have family gather, I did hear from each of my 4 children. My younger daughter, who doesn't live far, and also works with a local florist, brought by this lovely bouquet. It just represents spring so well, to me.

I'll leave you with this image from my sewing room window. It is finally looking like Springtime in the Rockies! You can click to enlarge for a better view of the new lambs.

I usually have some sort of giveaway for those who are following along, in conjunction with my blog anniversary, but I haven't got my act together. I've been sick the past week. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!  Stay tuned for something later this month!

Until then, be creative and be kind!

Janet O.

Friday, April 28, 2023

A little bit quilts, a little bit not

I did it again-I went a full month without posting. Bad blogger! Where does the time go? 

It is crazy to me to think back almost 12 years ago when I started blogging and realize that I was posting 2 or 3 times a week! How did I do that? 

So here are the two most recent Tiny Club blocks that I taught in my guild this month. And yes, I do enjoy fussy-cutting.

As usual, I made "storyboards" to define the construction process. The designer of these blocks, Lynn Hopkins, used to do that for us when he taught these blocks before he left on a church mission. The circled block below in the right-hand board shows what happens when you reverse the value placement in your flying geese.

     It takes me a long time to put these boards together.

What does NOT take a long time is the making of the blocks for the Moda Love quilt. 

I did mix up the background fabrics a bit from when I last posted this, and I like it better this way. Then one evening while Chooky and friends were at Scrub Stitchin' (International Version), I got the top half all sewn together.

Had a chance to share my progress with some of the Chookshed Stitchers after they returned from Scrub Stitchin'. 

Some have asked about our current snow conditions. The photo to the right was taken out my kitchen window two weeks ago! Hard to believe we still had that much snow in the middle of April. The baby lambs couldn't even go frisk in the pasture because it was still covered in snow.

But this was the view of the mountains yesterday, on the dirt road where I take many of my walks. I stopped here as I was driving home from town and took this shot. The snow on the valley floor is gone, but the mountains are still covered.

Just last Sunday there were two events in the heavens I wanted to share. First up, in the afternoon we had a display of a sun halo. There was no sundog this time, which is apparently caused by the orientation of the ice crystals. Who knew? 

Then later that night, about 10 p.m., we had an even rarer event--the Northern Lights were barely visible. You can see one shot in my new header. They didn't actually appear that bright, but the real time photo hardly showed them at all. So the photo below was taken with my iPhone on a 3 second exposure. The green and purple is brighter in the photos, but it gives you a better idea of what we saw than the quick "shutter click".

This is the third time I've seen the Northern Lights, and each time was here in this valley--and this is probably the second best view I've had. My dream is to see them from Iceland, or Norway, or some other such northern point someday. On our Alaskan cruise last September we missed a wonderful display of them in Juneau by 1 week. :(

Yesterday I sent off my doll quilt for the Humble Quilts Doll Quilt Swap. I'm excited to see if the recipient likes it, and to find out what comes my way.

Maybe next time I will have a little more quilty content. We'll see. Until then, be creative and be kind.
Janet O.

Friday, March 31, 2023

Look at me, making big quilts!

Trying to get a second post in here before the month is over. 

First up is a quilt that was a new flimsy 10 years ago. This was my Barrister's SAL quilt, hosted by Randy at Barrister's Block blog. It is made entirely from men's thrift store shirts, right down to the binding, that I attached after taking this photo, but haven't stitched down yet.

Randy did photo tutorials for each block on her blog. I have a page under my header photo that includes links to all of the tutorials.

This was quilted by check, utilizing my usual machine quilter who only lives a couple of miles away, and does an incredible job. Below are two close-ups. It is a good thing my quilter likes to do sampler quilts, because there were 63 blocks in this quilt.

Aside from her talent in quilting, I really appreciate that she gets my style, and when I tell her what I think I want, she will share any ideas that come to her that she thinks might be an improvement, and together we make the final decision. I never pick up a finished quilt and find she didn't listen to what I wanted. 

Next up is the churn dash top--finally assembled, mostly. This is from Chooky's Churn Dash SAL last summer (well, summer here in the states).

The blue fabric pinned on the right is what I have chosen for the border, but I am waiting for DD#1 to indicate how large she needs this to be, so I know how wide to cut the borders. I really enjoyed making this quilt. It is fun to make blocks this size and build a quilt relatively quickly. And I still got to throw a few random 1" and 3" Churn Dash blocks in the centers.

Then we have a quilt for which I can take no credit. Well, okay--I chose the setting fabrics and layout, and sewed it all together. But all of the blocks were made by Karen B., formerly of Log Cabin Quilter blog.

I received a "care package" from her many years ago that contained fabrics and projects that had lost their appeal for her. The center block and four surrounding stars were from one project, and the 8 outer stars were from another. They all played together nicely, and the center of the quilt came together quickly. But I stalled a long time (years) on the borders. I finally took a trip over the mountain to my friend Fran, at her quilt shop (Village Dry Goods), and we narrowed it down to this subtle paisley from a Pam Buda line. I didn't want anything that would pull your eye away from the center, but also didn't want a solid. I stitched that border on the very next day. I think this one will be quilted by check as well. It is too small for a queen bed, but it will fit nicely on the full size bed in the loft spare room.

Are you ready for big quilt #4? I don't know if I am. Here goes. Chooky has invited those attending Scrub Stitchin' (and any who want to sew along at home) to spend some time making a Moda Love quilt--in any of the 3 size options in the free pattern found at the link here. There are three pages to the pattern, each page giving instructions to one size. This is what went up on my design wall when the previous quilt top was completed. I may mix up the colors a bit more. This was the first time I had actually seen them in the places I had imagined they should go.
The fabric in each corner is a KT Christmas print of holiday words. I felt like the holiday color scheme would work with it, but seeing it in the photo, I'm not so sure.
The floral fabrics were sent to me by a dear blog friend many years ago. They are from a Kansas Troubles line. I had waited to find a quilt pattern that would let them shine, but not just be made of large squares. When I saw a Moda Love quilt on Annie's blog back in 2017, it just spoke to me, and I printed her photo from her blog, writing notes all over it as to which fabric I wanted where. I pulled other matching fabrics from my KT stash, cut everything to size, and pinned them together in numbered groups. I even placed right sides together of the fabrics that would be making HSTs.  I packed all this in a tote and took it with me to two retreats in a row (2019 and 2020--just before COVID), without ever getting to it.
With Annie's permission, this photo below shows what was in my "kit", with her photo in the center, very marked up. 
That is why this is NOT a new start, so I didn't break my rule. 

However, this did break my rule--I signed up for Lori's doll quilt swap at Humble Quilts blog. This is the 10th year, and I have only ever signed up one other time, two years ago. Since I have been on my "No New Starts" program for 6 months, I figured I could treat myself to one little doll quilt. And I already have the top assembled. Here is a peek. ;)  Now you know exactly what it looks like, right?

Utah is experiencing the winter that keeps on giving. After years of mostly dry winters, with very little snow, we have been getting dumped on week after week. Every single week has at least a few days with snow (and now occasionally it is rain). We get most of our water in Utah from the snowpack that builds up in the mountains over the winter. With years of drought, our reservoirs are depleted. This winter we are breaking records for snowpack in much of the state (which also means there are flooding problems as that snow melts faster than it can be absorbed and contained). But it just seems insane after going weeks and sometimes months with barely measurable precipitation, to be waking up to new snowfall several times a week. It is snowing as I write, and is supposed to snow all night. The next three photos were all taken last week. (I think the poor birds have been confused, asking themselves if they flew too far north.)

I need someone to explain to me how the mountains are reflected in the flooded field, when the field is about 5 miles away from the mountain. Just puzzled by the science here.

This next photo was taken on my walk earlier this week. If you enlarge the photo and  look along the mountain ridge line, you can see a little glow. The wind is whipping up the loose snow at the top, and as the sun sets it highlights that flying snow. Under the right conditions, it looks like flames. I have posted some of those photos in the past.

Enough rambling.
I've enjoyed quality time in the sewing room lately, and it has felt really good. I hope you are finding time for things that bring you joy, without having to neglect the things that make you a responsible adult. 
Until next time, be creative, and be kind,
Janet O.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Working on 3 neglected projects

First up is a project I started back in October of 2015. Sure, I have UFOs that are much older than that, but the fact that I started this for a show being held in 2017, and it is still unfinished speaks volumes for how I feel about entering shows. Here, it is--my 2-color, mini Burgoyne Surrounded--frozen in time.

After completing my first mini Burgoyne Surrounded (seen below) I made the very uncharacteristic decision to enter a quilt show. Not with that quilt, but with one I was yet to make.
I was a member of our state quilt guild at the time and they had their Ruby Jubilee coming up in a couple of years. They were planning on a traveling Red/White quilt show around the state to celebrate the event. We were encouraged to make quilts to enter. There would be no judging--just voting by viewers on their favorites. Sounded non-threatening to me, and I decided I could make this a 9 block quilt (wasn't sure I could work with just 2 colors for more than that), and enter it in the "Mini" category of the show. I got busy on the quilt, but when the entry information became available, I saw that there was not a mini category. I had attended a few shows by the state guild in the past, and had seen a mini category, but apparently for this show they had decided to just lump everything together. For some reason that took the wind out of my sail and I never finished the quilt. And I have still never entered a show.

I have slowly worked on this now and then over the years, but it has been a while since I last pulled it out. I decided it is time to get this little quilt top finished. Using those pieces in the first photo, I completed all the 4-patch, 6-patch, and 9-patch units, and then did the critical sliver trimming that makes such a  difference in mini quilts. 

Next I sewed the pieces together by rows, and then sewed the rows together.
When sewn into a quilt, each block will finish at 3 3/4", and there are 97 pieces in each block. Crazy, huh? Seven of the 9 blocks are now completed, and the pieces for the other two blocks are laid out on design boards, and should be completed in the next few weeks.

The next neglected project is the labeling of my little quilts. Seven years ago I did a post about labeling quilts without labeling them. In that post I explained that I always attach a label to my quilts--I just don't always write on the label. At that time I bemoaned the fact that I'd had a stack of 45 little quilts that needed labeling. Well, it happened again.
Hubby took the photo of me above, left, while I was hard at work writing labels. On the right is the photo I took when I had completed the pile of almost 60 quilts this time around. I would go to my blog and work backward, writing dates and info on 4 or 5 quilts. Next I'd go back to the table, find those quilts, and fill in the labels.  Then the process would start again. I really hope to do better going forward, and finish the labels before I consider the quilt completed.

The third neglected project that has received my attention this month is my Churn Dash quilt for Chooky's SAL last year. The blocks finish at 9". A few of them have a 3" block in the center, and three of those have a 1" churn dash in the middle. I had all of the blocks made when they were supposed to be done, but I never made the deadline for the assembly of the top.
Still not there, but getting very close.
The empty space is the row of sashing I am currently sewing together. At the time of the photo the row above that space was not yet attached to the upper half (which is all sewn together). All the blocks below the blank space still need to be sewn into rows. Once this is all assembled I will be auditioning borders to make the quilt as large as desired. I am leaning toward a dark blue that would be similar to the sashing, but no decisions have been made.

It seems like most everyone I know is currently dealing with difficult, stressful things. You may be familiar with the following saying...
"When you meet someone, treat them as if they were in serious trouble, and you will be right more than half of the time."
I'm thinking we could be right almost all the time these days. I want to choose kindness, even when faced with the opposite treatment. Not easy--it has to be a very intentional choice, but I'm working on it.
Until next time,
Be creative and be kind.
Janet O.

We have had such a snowy winter, and have more in the forecast next week. I like winter--and I don't even ski, but I also don't have to shovel the snow. I used to enjoy shoveling, but shoulder and back trouble have made it off limits for about 6 years now. I can still enjoy the views of the snowy countryside and mountains. The dirt road along the edge of the family farm gives some great vistas on my evening walk.
This is looking east--the sunset is behind me, but the glow reflects onto the tops of the mountains across the valley.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Dumping all of February on you

 Sorry I have been absent for the month. It has been a pretty intense month for me. I will start with the completion of Sea Glass and Sand. 

It felt so good to get this finished. I took it around for some glamor shots, but didn't love any of them. Then I had the silly idea to introduce Sea Glass and Sand to snow. We have been having more than our fair share of it this winter. The introduction was a little shaky, but everyone played nicely. 

The blocks in this quilt finish at 2" square, and the whole quilt is a measly 8 1/2".

I made this quilt as the project I would be teaching at a local guild. Now I needed to write the pattern. During the process I discovered that I don't like pattern writing. :) I had to keep making the blocks over and over again to make sure I was assembling in the correct order, and that I had seams going the best way for ease of assembly--even though I had taken notes as I made the quilt, so I thought I had all the info I needed. I always second guess myself.

And then I had to make more blocks in order to create the story boards of the process for each of the two blocks in the quilt.

At one point I was so tired of stopping to cut more parts to make another attempt at the block, I just grabbed some HSTs that were on the cutting table without worrying about their size. It was the process I was trying to figure out. When I finished it I realized I had just made a basket that would finish at 1 1/2". It made the 2" finished blocks in my quilt seem large (well, at least bigger).

The class for the guild was held today (Feb. 28th). It was a blustery day, and with the recent snowfalls and more snow overnight, out in farm country where I live, the fresh snow was blowing off the fields and over the roads, causing near white-out conditions. I wondered if they would cancel class, but apparently quilters are hardier than that. As I headed out, the winds were whipping again and a couple of times I just had to pray that I was still driving on the road, because I couldn't really see it. 

Out of the 23 signed up for class, I think 18 of them made it there. I was amazed. If I hadn't been teaching the class, I would have opted not to go out in that weather. But we had a great group of ladies there, and I was happy to be able to share my experience and recommendations for small-scale piecing. I forgot about taking photos until after a couple of them had already had to leave, but this gives you an idea of the action.

They meet in a large room in the city building of a community several miles northeast of where I live. Plenty of space and lots of light.   Below is a better look at the display.

Thank you Needles and Friends Quilt Guild for inviting me to share with you. It was a delightful morning (once I got out of the blowing snow). :)

I wanted to share this block with you. For the "block jack" in my guild this month we had the spool block. I love the way the thread on the spool is pieced. I had so much fun making these, I made four of them.

This is a block I may want to make more of someday (when I can start something new again--if that day ever comes).

We have been having a lot of these kinds of days this winter--cold and grey with lots of big, fat flakes falling and piling up.

On the left is my in-laws home where my son and his wife now reside. It is across a small pasture, but I zoomed in a bit to see the flakes better. You can enlarge this (or any photos in the post) for a better look. On the right is the view of the farmyard from my sewing room window. In the midst of all this dreariness, this is what keeps me smiling--a little bit of summer, indoors.

And once the storm passes outside, it is a bright, crisp, and frosty world. Below is the view from the front of the house--looking east.

And next is the view from the "bee garden" next to our home--looking west.

I hope you can find beauty in your surroundings, and create beauty in your sewing space.
Until next time, be creative and be kind.
Janet O.