Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Mini of the Month and Humble Quilts SAL

Once again just squeaking under the wire with my Monthly Mini. Linking up with Wendy at The Constant Quilter blog for our monthly mini parade.

The inspiration for this little quilt began when I saw this post from Barbara of her mini last month. She showed a picture from the book Childhood Treasures that had inspired her mini and that sent me to my copy of the book. I didn't end up using the one that caught my eye that month, but decided it would be my mini for September--and here it is.

This photo shows which quilt from Childhood Treasures inspired me. That print around the three sides of the doll quilt in the book made me think of a beautiful Jinny Beyer print called Mariposa that  had been shared with me by Pat at Amity Quilter blog (thank you, Pat). A couple of years ago she used it as the focus fabric in a Humble Quilts SAL.  You can see her finished product here.                              Since I don't have a doll bed, I figured I would put the border around all four sides, as this will probably be a wall hanging or table topper. 
I didn't get a great photo of the quilting, but maybe you can see it a bit in this photo. Haven't thought of a name for this yet. It has such a mix of fabric designers. I considered calling it "Jinny Beyer makes a Diehl to Di Ford," but that would be leaving out Howard Marcus, Paula Barnes, Jo Morton, and maybe more. I'll have to ponder it a little more.
I've been on a roll with the 2 1/2" 4-patch blocks with setting squares. I was just finishing piecing up my monthly mini when Lori at Humble Quilts blog posted her first step in her doll quilt SAL. She has since posted the second step, and the setting is remarkably familiar.        Looking forward to seeing the border that Lori says is next. It's not too late to join in!
DH and I had a whirlwind getaway last Friday and Saturday. It was good to get out and do something almost like we used to. Does it look familiar? It is a 5 hour drive from home and I have spent many vacations here--with my family as a child, with my children as a family, and now as a pair of "old people". 

Autumn is my favorite time of year, and I am enjoying the cooler nights, the changing colors, and the golden hue to the evening light. In a world that has been throwing us curve balls on a regular basis this year, I hope you are finding ways to create joy for yourself and others each day. 
Until next time, 
Janet O.

Monday, August 31, 2020

August Monthly Mini--Love Thy Neighbor

If you were around the blog three years ago you may have a faint memory of this--"Love Thy Neighbor."

Three years ago Maureen (pursuitofquilts blog), extended an invitation for others to join her in making a quilt titled "Love Thy Neighbor," and to consider using house blocks. This was in light of the troubles going on in Charlottesville, VA at that time. I made the top, but I didn't get it quilted. Now seemed like as good a time as ever to complete this little quilt. I can't think of what we could use more right now than love for our neighbors.

Once again, I finished it up with some hybrid quilting. It was machine quilted, except for the echo quilting around the hearts. The house blocks were hand pieced, which I rarely do. They were part of an "airport layover kit" sent to me a few years back by my friend, Annie. This is the second little quilt I have made from the blocks in that kit and this one finished at 14" square. You can see the quilting a little better in this photo. Linking this to Wendy (the constantquilter blog) for our monthly mini roundup.

I know you have seen this next quilt quite a bit, but now that I have the binding completed, I want to share it one more time. This is "Mom's Flower Garden," so named for a few reasons. First, Mom and I started making Grandmother's Flower Garden quilts at the same time 22 years ago, after I learned the technique of EPP and shared what I had learned with her. Second, most of the fabrics came from my Mom's stash, since the fabrics I owned at the time were for clothing construction. Finally, almost all of the blocks were appliqued to their backgrounds during the hours I have spent at Mom's side over the past 15 months. Since Mom finished her quilt within a year of starting it, she is happy to have lived to see the day that I finished mine.

I have to throw in one more glamor shot. After having almost tossed this UFO out a few years ago, I am just giddy to have it finished and to actually like it. When it was haunting me in its unfinished state, I wondered if it would even be worth it to finish it because I didn't love the fabrics anymore. Well, the principle of synergy is at work here, because when it all came together it was better than I imagined. 

We have been getting the smoke from the fires in California, thanks to the jet stream, and at times it has been so bad that we couldn't even see the mountains that surround us. That is why this view from my evening walk was so welcome. A windy day had cleaned out the valley and the mountains were clearly visible again. That is the moon just rising above the mountains and the clouds.

I'll admit that all of the divisiveness in the country has been getting me down. Those who are hijacking the BLM movement as an excuse for violence disrespect the cause and efforts of those who are trying to bring about positive change through peaceful protests. The politicizing of good health practices during a global pandemic seems crazy to me. And the vilifying of all police officers due to the heinous actions of some is unfair to those who bring honor to the uniform. How did all this hate and venom find such fertile soil in our country? Can we not remember how to love our neighbor?
Will you join me in seeing if you can find something kind to do for a "neighbor"? Keep it simple or get creative. Just reach out and brighten someone's day, somehow (I know many of you are already doing this). It will brighten your day, too. And couldn't we all use some day brightening?

Until next time,
Janet O.

Friday, July 31, 2020

July Monthly Mini

Look at me--posting my monthly mini before midnight on the last day of the month! I will be linking up with Wendy, our fearless (cheer)leader, at The Constant Quilter blog.
This month's mini came together mostly from leftover units and scraps kindly donated by Kevin at Kevin the Quilter blog.I did dig around a bit in my own scraps to come up with the sashing, border, and binding, but no actual yardage was harmed in the making of this quilt. It finished up at just over 13" square.
In my last post I received a comment from Lady Locust saying this made her think of Neapolitan ice cream. I liked that idea, so I am naming it Neapolitan. And with our temps reaching 100 these days, I could use a scoop of that about now.
This was finished with what I like to call "hybrid quilting". I used machine quilting for all of the stitch-in-the-ditch, and for the quilting in the outer border. Then I hand quilted down the center of each narrow sashing piece, and diagonally through the 4-patch blocks. I felt it needed a bit more, so I did echo quilting in the neutral triangles. You can see the quilting better in the photos below. You can also see very clearly that I drew no lines to follow on the hand quilting. I eye-balled it--so let's call it organic quilting. :)
Do you ever mix machine and hand quilting on the same piece? I have done it many times on my minis, but never on a large quilt. On the back you can see the machine quilting more clearly. And I see a space I missed. Can you spot it?
It is good to have an excuse to sew something fun in these monthly minis, since mask  making continues to consume most of my sewing time. Have now made over 300. Anyone need a mask? LOL

I have notified those whose names were drawn to receive the bag of HSTs (Dortha), magazines (Liz and Barb V.), and the stencil (Robin). As so often happens, several of those I originally drew have no email linked to their name, so I had to draw again (and again).

We have been trying to have dinner on our deck most evenings. This is what I captured there the other night--the video quality isn't the best, but listen to the birds, and watch the swallows swoop. You might want to expand the video screen to see the birds better.

Find something around you that makes you smile.
Until next time,
Janet O. 

RANT: At the risk of changing the mood and ending on a downer, I spent 3 hours last night in the new blogger trying to create this post. This is not my first rodeo--I have used the new blogger on the two previous posts with minimal inconvenience and adapting. Last night as I typed, the letters would appear slowly, one at a time, taking a couple of minutes for one sentence to show up after I had typed it. A paragraph could take 10 minutes to materialize. Photos would actually drag and drop this time (which they wouldn't on my last post), but resizing didn't always work. One photo was so huge it covered most of my post. It wouldn't resize. When I finally deleted just that photo and tried to preview the post, the preview wouldn't load--even when I went away and came back later to see if it was completed. I finally cut my post short and hit publish, only to have half of my words--in random places--not appear, and only a couple of photos show up. I deleted the whole post and walked away. Tried again this morning and saw things were much the same. Just to get this posted without tearing out my hair, I reverted to "Legacy Blogger." I am hoping these are all just glitches and won't be regular occurrences. Even Legacy Blogger was a bit touchy, but nothing like my trial with new blogger last night. Anyone else have a similar experience?

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Twenty-two years in the making!

I began stitching the hexagon flowers for this quilt exactly 22 years ago next week! I know that because back then I was a volunteer for "The Festival of the American West" in our valley, and that is where I was taught English Paper Piecing.
This just came back from the quilter and I love what she did with it.  

I told her I wanted it to look like someone had hand quilted it, and I believe she got the feel I was looking for. In the photo above right you can get a better idea of the quilting, and on the left you can see the fun floral backing I used.
I cut the binding today. I will get it attached and start sewing it down within the next couple of days. So happy to see this finally getting completed.
Fun Fact: Monday I was watching an old movie "The More The Merrier" (starring Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea) while I made more masks. It is an old rom/com about the housing shortage in Washington D.C. during WWII. I happened to be glancing up at the screen just as they were showing an apartment building lobby filled with people on makeshift beds and one of the men had a quilt this same style over his. For just a second I wished the film was in color so I could see what one of these looked like in the 40s.

Yes, I did mention there that I was sewing more masks. Now that more and more stores are requiring them, and we are being told when school resumes in the fall kids will need to wear masks, I figure there is still a need. Have distributed more than 200, have 50 more made and ready to share, and another 50 or so are cut out waiting to be stitched. I don't enjoy changing thread colors, so I select a few masks that could all look good with the same color of top-stitching, and I make those masks assembly line style. When they are made I choose another thread color and sew whatever masks I have cut out that look good with that thread. You can see the super hero masks are at the top of the pile.

My good quilting buddy, Kevin H., sent me a bag a scraps and leftover parts earlier this summer. I started playing with them and making plans for a small quilt almost immediately. I incorporated many of the "parts", like the 4-patches and the HSTs.
The top has been finished and basted for weeks, but I haven't started the quilting yet. Thanks, Kevin, for a fun diversion from my self-imposed focus on UFOs. This may turn out to be my July monthly mini once it is quilted.

I was on my evening walk one night last week when a quilting friend called to me from her yard. She had just finished assembling a top using a bunch of Lori Holt fabrics with a few other fabrics mixed in. There were a lot of bonus triangles leftover and at first she thought she would do something with them, but after beginning to press and trim a few, she decided they were smaller than she wanted to use. Many of them would finish around 2", or a little smaller. She asked if I knew anyone who would want them, and I told her I could probably find someone. So here they are--they pretty well fill a 1 qt. zipper bag. They would make a cute little quilt in happy fabrics. If you want them, say so in your comment.

Speaking of little quilts, another blog friend sent me some copies of that great classic magazine, "Miniature Quilts." I already had 2 or 3 of them, so if you are interested in those, let me know. Thanks for the magazines, Randy!

Finally, one of my favorite border designs to quilt is the rope. I wanted to use it on the sashing for "The Beast," but I didn't have a stencil for it that was big enough, and I didn't want to freehand it on a king size quilt. I get most of my stencils from Quilt Creations International. I already have this stencil in 3 sizes from them, but I checked to see if they had any larger sizes. They had a 2 1/2" listed, which isn't much larger than the 2" I already have, but it was just large enough. I ordered it, but when it arrived it was only 2". Turns out they had mislabeled it on their website and in their catalog and no one else had caught it. They decided that it was a popular enough design that it wouldn't hurt to make it in 2 1/2", which they promptly sent me in just over a week. So now I have an extra 2" size. Anyone interested?

Enough housecleaning. I hope you are all finding things that give you joy in the midst of all this craziness. Whether it is quilting to your heart's content, peace and quiet in a daily devotional, tending to living things in your garden, curling up with a good book and losing yourself in another time or place, sipping a wonderful lemon peach herb tea (it really is yummy) as you enjoy a sunrise or sunset, or baking up a storm--maybe you are lucky enough to have family in your "bubble" and you get to hug grandkids--whatever your source of comfort and normalcy, I hope you are staying safe and not letting it all get you down. We will get through this!

Until next time (when I'd better have a monthly mini ready),
Janet O.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

JUNE monthly mini, etc.

I did have this almost finished in June, but the binding didn't happen until July. But here you have it. Linking with Wendy (theconstantquilter blog) for our monthly minis. Thanks for keeping us motivated, Wendy.
This is a very simple, straightforward little piece. Ten inches square with 4-patches finishing at 1". I had a bunch of little bits of red and blue binding pieces left by one of my machines over time, and there were many little red and blue strips in my scrap basket. I had been using these as leader/enders for a while, creating little 4-patch blocks. The muslin squares are from the backs cut out of the Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks after I appliqued them onto the muslin background. Everything came from one scrap basket or another. I usually make a patriotic mini in June for our family reunion auction, but that was canceled due to Covid19. I guess old habits die hard.

The quilting on this is all straight line done on my domestic machine. I thought about quilting something in the white, but opted to leave them empty and just quilt around the 4-patches and the borders.

We went camping for a few days last month and I took along the project-that-never-ends, otherwise known as Stars in the Garden, from a back issue of Primitive Quilts and Projects.
Who knows, it may get done in my lifetime yet. I think when I get the two center flowers finished I might start assembling what I have so far in order to keep me feeling motivated. That feeling comes and goes every year or two.

We celebrated our 42nd anniversary in June. Since we can't do many of our usual celebratory options, we visited a nearby migratory bird refuge and then got milkshakes. I wish I had taken my real camera. The photos I captured on my phone don't do justice to what we saw, but this was one of my favorites.

Back in April I dipped my toe into the mask-making pool (after having said I wasn't going to make masks), and at one point I thought I was done with it. But as our area has had a surge of new cases, I have made more than I ever thought I would. Have sewn and distributed 190 masks to date, and have orders for about 10 more at present. I don't charge for them, but when people find out I am making them I get inquiries.
This is what is currently in the works, with another pile of fabrics ready to be cut.
I think the color and pattern of fabric people choose tells me something about their personality. It is interesting.

My quilting and blogging time always decreases when there is yard work to be done. Add to that Mom's needs and mask making, and I have really been lax with the blog. May not be changing soon, but I will do my best to keep in touch.

Until next time,
Keep your hands clean and your face covered,
Janet O.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

The Beast Revisited

It has been a long time since I felt my shoulder could handle pushing this heavy, king-size T-shirt quilt around under Gidget's needle. It feels good to be seeing real progress now, and without shoulder pain.
This is my youngest son's college graduation quilt. He graduated 5 years ago. Do you think it is about time I completed it? When I started the quilting on this a few years ago my shoulder problems eventually brought it to a halt. After finally having surgery 2 years ago I thought I would get back to this quickly. But healing was slow and then other projects had gotten in the way. Now this is my machine quilting priority, and over the past couple of weeks I have quilted 16 blocks. I have four to go, and then I get to start on the sashing.

I am doing some pretty dense quilting, and I am trying to make each block different from any others.
Some turn out well--others, not so well. The block to the left is one of my favorites. The one below is in the "not so much" category.

I have never loved quilting pebbles, hence I don't do it much, so I can't do it well. But by the time I decided I wasn't thrilled with this block, I had gone too far to unpick (I just wasn't willing to do it at that point). Of course, this is the brightest, most fluorescent of all the blocks, which makes it  obvious. So be it.
These photos show a few of the other designs I used in the quilting.

This T-shirt quilt has a twin brother. My oldest son graduated from the local university in 2011, and only 4 months later his T-shirt graduation quilt was quilted and bound. Of course, I didn't do the quilting myself. Here is the twin--and they were only born 4 years apart. How is that for a trick?
Between the two of them, these are the quilts that compelled me to learn machine quilting. When I picked up this quilt from my machine quilter, she told me about all of the problems she'd  had with breaking thread and wacky tension as she quilted it. Then she said that she wouldn't be sad if she never had to do another t-shirt quilt. My youngest son was already in college by then and already had the t-shirts stacking up (my sons were joiners). At that moment I figured I just needed to learn to do it myself, and that very month I was attending my first machine quilting classes (where I was, in all honesty, the class dunce).

One other near completion, my "Mom's Flower Garden" quilt finally got the border attached. Here it is on the guest room bed, making sure it is the size I want before I send it off to be quilted. Yes, there are too many quilts in the queue, so I am quilting this one by check.
Every couple of years I hire a friend that does excellent work and let her finish one of for me, and this is one of those times. I am excited to have her work her magic and get this 22 year old UFO into the "finished" pile!

And lest you think you are on the wrong blog, I do have a couple of small quilts that are in the works. One of them should end up being my mini of the month and will make an appearance here soon.

Our little valley has had an explosion of Covid cases in the past couple of weeks. We went from under 100 to over 700--heavily related to employees at a meat packing plant. Hope you are all able to stay safe, wash your hands, social distance, and wear a mask when you can't.

Until next time,
Janet O.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

May Monthly Mini and Moonrise for Maggie

Don't anyone fall over in shock that I am posting my monthly mini a whole week before the month ends. It is highly out of character for me, I know. I will link with Wendy at The Constant Quilter blog for our monthly mini at the end of the month
This is from the Pam Buda pattern Cinnamon Sticks from her Tokens of the Past "Spice Box" collection. I actually bought this in kit form--rare for me. The cool pincushion with it is from a swap I had with Julie last August. You can see in the pattern below that this mini has a border, but when I got mine to that point it just felt finished.
The batting was very flat cotton, so it was hard to get a good photo of the quilting design I used, but I did the best I could to adjust the lighting. Maybe you can tell what I quilted.
The official name of this pattern may be Cinnamon Sticks, but I have named mine Chocolate Covered Cinnamon Bears. That is how I prefer my cinnamon. :)

I do love red/brown quilts, and have made a few small ones. Okay, so the little one in the clip has a bit of pink in it, too, but overall it is red/brown.

Maggie's quilt got bound, washed, labeled and shipped. I am happy to report that the bleeding from the thread and the panda bears on the backing (bleeding panda bears--that doesn't sound good) was all taken care of when I washed it in blue Dawn and threw in three Color Catchers. The Color Catchers came out more grey than orange, but you could tell there was an underlying orange tinge to them.

Thank you to Debbie for the name  suggestion "Moonrise for Maggie." I loved that, and it went on the label, along with the acknowledgement that the quilt was made from Bonnie Hunter's Orca Bay pattern.

Since I finish so few large quilts, I had to get a few glamor shots and celebrate the moment.
This was in the yard with some of the lilacs that are currently scenting the air. DH was a good quilt holder, even though the breeze was working against him.

Here is another shot with the lilacs.

And finally inside on my living room quilt rack. It is obviously brighter than what is usually in my home. The other quilts on the rack were made by my Mom.
Thanks for indulging me and my photo shoot. :)

You know, sometimes it is just really hard to give something away. Not because I don't want to give it, but because there is no one to take it. The first numbered comment I drew in my blogiversary giveaway was someone who asked not to be included. The next three were people who were "no reply" comments, and they had not included their email. I want to thank all those of you who DID include your email. Too bad you weren't one of the ones chosen by the random number generator. But FINALLY Barbara Black came up as the winner and she has been notified, and her prize will be in the mail soon.

Thanks for all your lovely comments. They brighten my day. It is fun to hear from so many of you.

Until next time,
Janet O.