Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Monthly Mini and More

The 9-patches leftover from my December mini have been waiting to be used. I planned on making my March mini with them, and I had intended it to be a 2 color quilt, but a third color just slipped in.

I thought it made a very nice March companion quilt to the tinier one made by Barb. Linking up with Wendy, The Constant Quilter, for the Monthly Mini parade. Check it out!                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                

 

 

Most of the quilting was simply done with my walking foot, but I did do a little hand stitching in the gold blocks.




 

 

 
My piece for Cecile's (Patchwork Inspirations) "Curves" SAL is complete. Covid Curves was very fun to make. I learned to do curved seams many years ago, but just made a few practice blocks and never applied the technique in an actual quilt. Now I have.                                                                                                                                                                             

This finishes at 24" square--and it appears that I forgot to rub out the chalk lines I used for the quilting through the dark areas. Oops.
 

 You can see the quilting better in this pre-binding shot. I kept the quilting simple, and I learned that I need a good set of circle quilting rulers.                       
I signed up for Gay Bomers' Little Blocks 365, as I mentioned in my last post. I had intended to just save the patterns for another time. But I had to try them--just a few. 

They are like potato chips. I kept telling myself, "This is my last one." Before I knew it I was making another. I finally pulled away from them, but they are so fun. Finishing at 3", they are pretty stinkin' cute. I am (obviously) using batiks for all of the blocks. It will be saturated in color. I still don't plan to focus on this quilt this year, but I will sneak in a block every now and then.

I signed up for something else! What is wrong with me this year?!? For the first time ever I have joined in on Lori's doll quilt swap. I am out of my mind, for sure. Do you remember that I was making a house quilt and that scrappy churn dash by Pam Buda, "Every Little Bit"? They have been sitting idle as I jump on every bandwagon that comes along (practically).

If you will indulge me a minute more, I would like to do a little housecleaning. I know I was going to try and show before and after photos of my sewing room clean-up, but I forgot to take the "befores", and we have some family staying with us this week, and my sewing room becomes a dumping ground. So "afters" wouldn't look great at the moment. But I did come across a few things to pass along to someone else who would like to use them.
 

There are 233 homespun apple cores. Ten of them are already machine stitched together in a row. They were given to me by another quilter, but I realize I probably won't get them stitched. I think it is enough to make a lap quilt, and if you like hand stitching, it would be a great project for stitching with some evening TV or movie watching. 
There is a full kit for the Lori Smith Patchwork Sampler, and finally, a whole bunch of wool applique patterns (mostly from Buttermilk Basin). If you are interested in any of this, let me know in a comment--please specify which you are interested in, and if you never receive a reply to your comments here, you are a "no reply blogger". I need you to include your email in your comment or I cannot include you in the drawing. When I have closed the drawing I will post that here.
Got my first vaccine dose last week. Looking forward to my first grandchild hugs in over a year in a few more weeks! WooHoo!!
Until next time,
Janet O.

 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Catching up

Since I have been hopping on so many SALs lately, I thought I'd give an update.

These two are Barbara Brackman's "Hands All Around". It is just one block a month, but I always make two, using the same fabrics in both, but switching up the placement.


This is the Gay Bomers' "Heartfelt" block. It is a Block a Week program, but you may be instructed to make more than one of the block pattern any given week. This week only called for one.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Amazingly, I have kept up with both so far. It hasn't escaped my notice that they are both using 8" blocks, so if I fall too far behind, I could combine them all into one quilt and call it "Heart and Hands". I've never made a pink/purple/brown quilt before. Hopefully I won't be doing it this year, either.  :) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found a backing fabric I love for my "Curves" Challenge piece with Cecile at Patchwork Inspirations.

It is now basted and ready to quilt, but I keep changing my mind as to how to quilt it. Haven't struggled this much with a quilting design in a long time!
 

A week ago I caught a brief visit with Chookyblue and some of the other bloggers that enjoy Zoom sew-ins with her. Almost feels like the retreat I didn't get this year. This is my third time joining in and it is always a delight. As we chat it is interesting to see how different things are from one country to another--and also how alike.

 

 

Major rearranging going on in my sewing room in the coming week. Maybe I will even remember to take before/after photos.

And before I finish I should confess--I signed up for another Gay Bomers project! Her Little Blocks 365 was just too tempting!! I talked myself out of joining when sign-ups were about to close, and was proud that I had been so strong. Well, she had so many people beg requests for sign-ups to open back up, that she obliged. And I succumbed! Don't expect to see me making seven 3" foundation pieced blocks each week, but I couldn't pass up those patterns! And if you want to succumb too, sign-ups are open at that link until March 17!

Until next time,

Janet O.

 

Earlier this week we woke up to 5" of snow, but it melted by the next day. In scenes like this I think the mountains and sky look like a fake backdrop in a low-budget movie.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Monthly Mini--and what was I thinking?

It's that time again. I really intended to post more than once this month. I even had something to share, but I never seemed to have time to post, so you get the whole month's boatload in one post! Sorry. This month's mini is in homage to Wendy's August mini last year, which you can see here. 

I was so taken with her little quilt and finally had a chance to make a "tribute quilt" inspired by her creation! The 4-patches in this little thing are 1" square, and the quilt finishes at about 15"x17". 
 

I quilted the center section by machine, but just HAD to honor the beautiful border fabric with hand quilting along the curves. This was such a busy week and I didn't start this quilt until Tuesday. I don't know why I thought I had time to do any hand quilting, but sometimes it is just a requirement!   The photo below almost gives you a good view of the quilting--almost.

Linked to Wendy (The Constant Quilter blog) for the monthly mini links. Many fun and creative minis to check out in that post.

My Winter Retreat project from January 2014 is finally a flimsy! This is Pam Buda's Settler's Puzzle. As I said in a previous post, this is designed as a 2-color quilt. Though they look so beautiful, I get pretty on edge working with only two colors for very long. Hence my 4-color version. It will also be bound in green, if it ever gets quilted.

Hopefully it won't be another 7 years before this is quilted and bound--but you never know around here. I am thinking that when it does get quilted, feathers will definitely be involved.

I thought I was being so brave to sign up for Barbara Brackman's "Hands All Around" Alcott family themed BOM. (One block a month--not too late to join!) I have attempted to join her SALs in years past, but when I fall behind I tend to drop out--and that is what has always happened. I am determined to keep up this year. It is only one star block a month--how hard can that be? And you have a choice of 8", 12" or 16" blocks. Of course, I am making two blocks each month, and I am making the 8". Some people are doing one of each size. Mine will be in Civil War pinks and browns (obviously), and these are for the first two months. This is as far as I ever get before life gets in the way, so I am hoping to actually get month three made in March.

 

And then there is that other Pam Buda project on my design wall--Every Little Bit, from the June 2015 Issue of American Patchwork and Quilting.

I am on track to have all of the blocks made by the end of the year. That is my "goal", but it is a loose one. Originally I thought I would be glad to get the blocks made within 2 years, but the blocks make up more quickly than I expected, so it may turn out to be a one year project. On the other hand, who knows what curves life may throw as the year progresses.


 

 

 

 

 

 

And speaking of curves--my quilt for Cecile's QAL is all sewn together. I am toying with different Ideas for the quilting. I have a couple of months (I think) to get it quilted and bound, but I can't keep putting it off, or it won't happen. This is much more modern than my normal work, and the quilting style should reflect that. No feathers here!

 

 

 

Another project I had planned to do this year came from the October 2020 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting. I have wanted to make a bed size house quilt for years, and had saved a couple of possible patterns. But when I saw the one in this issue, I knew this was the winner.                                                                                   

I am doing my houses in a variety of Civil War blues, but the star cornerstones will still be red. I am also adding another row of houses.

I made my first block last month, but when I went to trim it up, I accidentally cut it too small. This will now have to be an orphan block and I will need to start again. Sharon at Grass Roots Quilting blog is making this quilt, and her top is finished. Click the link on her name to see it.

As if this all isn't enough "works in progress", I had ANOTHER weak moment (so many already this year) while reading Kyle's blog recently, and I am now signed up for Gay Bomer's BOW, Heartfelt--and it is another 2 color quilt. I have toyed with the idea of doing it in purple and cream--or possibly throwing in some cheddar, and maybe a pop of black. Strange color scheme, you think? I made a mini in this combination years ago, and I still love the effect. We'll see. But I am already behind a couple of weeks, so I hope I don't get discouraged. I know so many of you do so much more than this at a time. But I know my limits, and this exceeds them--so what was I thinking?!?

Like I said in the beginning, you got the whole boatload! Now take a few deep breaths as you look at this and see if you feel better. This photo was taken on my drive home from my oldest grandson's orchestra concert last Thursday--yes, I pulled over to take the picture. I think I pulled over about 4 different times to capture the changing colors, but this was my favorite.


 Until next time,                                                                                                               

Janet O.

 



Saturday, January 30, 2021

Monthly Mini and Pam Buda projects

My January monthly mini is made of Old Italian blocks (sometimes called X blocks). I think I first was introduced to this easy construction method on Barbara Black's blog here.  I used her directions that call for 5" charm squares, with blocks finishing at 3". That makes this finish at 15"x18". Will link up with Wendy at The Constant Quilter blog when her Monthly Mini post goes up.

I had received a gift of a lovely charm pack a few weeks ago. I pulled several squares from it, and a few more squares from a couple of other charm packs I had on hand. I ended up cutting six more blocks from my scrap baskets, trying to get a good variety of styles and colors. I chose a couple of Barbara Brackman grey/blues for the binding. I wanted it to look like a "make do" scrap quilt where I didn't have enough of one fabric for the binding (even though I did). But you can tell I wasn't real brave about it or I would have used two fabrics that didn't look so much alike.

Oh, it was hard for me to resist continually rearranging the blocks to avoid like colors being next to each other. I am so proud of myself for leaving the two brightest blue blocks touching each other at their corners, and leaving a cluster of 3 red Xs next to a red block. It doesn't even bother me. (*twitch*twitch*)

I don't know if you can tell from either photo that I just quilted in every single, stinkin' ditch. That is only 49 passes across this little quilt to get the diagonal lines and the lines between the blocks.

And yes, in case you are wondering, I have not yet stained my mini quilt display rack. Eventually...

 

I have the first row made of my "Every Little Bit" quilt, designed by Pam Buda (in magazine found here), along with 2 rows of sashing. I know I won't always be able to get a row made in a month, but I am grateful when I can find enough sewing time to make this kind of progress. These are 6" finished blocks and there are 52 different fabrics in each block.

I realized that the two projects on my design wall are each designed by Pam Buda. I attended a retreat 7 years ago where she was the featured teacher. One of the days was spent working on the Settler's Puzzle quilt (on the right). 

It is designed as a 2 color quilt. I went rogue and cut mine in 3 colors, but after the retreat it spent a LOT of time in the closet. Two years ago I pulled it out and determined I would finish the blocks, which I did. A few months ago I pulled it back out and was working on the borders. I just had to do it--I HAD to add a fourth color, and I cut a dark green border. If I have enough, I may bind it in the same dark green. I really stall on borders, so I am leaving this on the wall until I force myself to get the borders attached.

I can't even think of a way to close this post. Mom isn't doing well and I am emotionally spent. So there you have it.

Until next time, be kind and generous in your attitude toward others--even those with whom you disagree.

Janet O.

Full moon rising over the Bear River Range of mountains on Thursday. The photo is a tad blurry, but it is a lovely view.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Big plans

Aside from my monthly mini, I don't usually like to have quilting projects with deadlines. This is my therapy--deadlines cause stress. Stress creates the need for therapy. It's a viscous cycle. But I have jumped in to a few projects this year that may leave me wondering, "What was I thinking?" 

For the first time I have joined in on Cecile's SAL at Patchwork Inspirations. I barely squeaked in before the sign-ups were closed. She has a fun SAL every year, with wonderful sponsors. There is always a theme with a rule or two--and a deadline. But you decide how to interpret the theme. This year the theme is CURVES, and you are to have at least 16 blocks with curves in your finished product. Though I don't often use curved seams, I do know how to do them, and I had an idea, so I jumped on the train. Introducing "COVID Curves".

I felt like the Devil's Puzzle layout could pass for a stylized version of the virus, and every piece of fabric in this wall hanging was from the leftovers of the 500+ masks I made last year. We have certainly had enough curves thrown our way in the past year and I wanted to memorialize the experience in this quilt. All of the curves are sewn, but I need to start stitching the blocks into rows. I believe this will end up being about 24" square, as each of the little blocks should finish at 3".

In all my nearly 10 years of blogging, I have never done a Barbara Brackman SAL, though I have thought about it, and have even gone so far as to make the first block a couple of times. But I cannot resist this one--Star blocks with different centers, and a Little Women theme. One block a month--not too late to join in. You will find the first pattern HERE.  I have decided to do two of each monthly block. You can choose between 12", 8", or 16". I am doing the 8".

I will be using a variety CW repros in pink and brown. I have been saving them up for years for a different pattern, but this just felt right.

This next project has no deadline, but I feel like it may be the craziest choice of all. In the June 2015 American Patchwork & Quilting magazine, Designer Pam Buda had a quilt that left me breathless. For one thing it uses the churn dash block (which I love), and for another it uses tiny pieces of scraps. I received a very healthy infusion of scraps recently (you know who you are) and I knew it was time to pull out the magazine and get going.


This is Every Little Bit, by Pam Buda. She talks about this quilt on her blog HERE. Each straight side of the churn dash block is formed from 8 tiny strips of fabric. They are foundation pieced, and this photo shows you how small they are.

The pattern calls for 42 blocks and you need four of these little foundations for each block. I want my quilt a bit bigger, so I am planning on adding a row of seven more--I'll need almost 200 of these little pieced foundations. If I made a block a week, I could have all the blocks finished by Christmas. But life doesn't usually cooperate, so I am just planning on this being a two or even three year project. But I don't want it to get buried in a closet.

I have my first two blocks completed. They will finish at 6". I used a different method for the center 4-patch in a square than the pattern indicated. I wanted to make the 4 patch barely float, so that I wouldn't always be worried about cutting off the points. Seems to be working.

I tried to provide a link to the digital copy of the magazine, in case you are crazy, too you are interested, but the page would never load for me. However, there are a few copies of the magazine available on Amazon.  

I don't know if I should admit that I have another pattern from a magazine that I hope to work on a little each month. I won't share it until I see if I actually start on it one day soon. And then, of course, there will still be the monthly minis. This may not seem like much to many of you who make more than this in any given year, but for me lately, this is a bunch!

In my last post I offered to share the last bags of my Christmas Gingerbread soaps. I thought I only had two, but I found a few more, so I drew five names. In the process I kept ending up with people whose profiles are not linked to their email, so I had to keep redrawing. Makes me sad because I don't think you even know you can't be contacted.

So Loris, Terry C., Nancy S., Ruth J. and  DebrafromMD will be receiving some gingerbread men that lather really well. Nancy, and Ruth, I have your addresses. Terry, you have moved since I had yours, and Loris I thought I had sent you something before, but I can't find your address in my file. Debra, I will need yours. If you ladies will get your addresses to me, I will get your soap sent out.

Tomorrow is Inauguration Day. I hope it is a peaceful one, and I have hope for a kinder, more inclusive, and more dignified term of office this time around.

Until next time,

Janet O.






Thursday, December 31, 2020

December Monthly Mini and Gnomes in the Dome

I had thought I had plenty of mini quilts for Christmas decorating, but it turns out I was short a few. Now I am short one less. Linking up with Wendy at The Constant Quilter blog for our Monthly Mini challenge. This has been the 3rd year--can't believe I have kept up. It is often the only thing I accomplish in a month, so I am grateful for the motivation to at least do this!

Just a handful of green scraps, some leftover Marcus Brothers aged muslin, and a chunk of red from the "smaller than FQ" storage, and this little cutie was whipped up pretty quickly.

 

I actually did follow a pattern for this, which you wouldn't think I would need for such simplicity. However, I was fascinated earlier this year when I saw this book from Primitive Gatherings, and the quick way to make a negative and positive 9-patch using two squares of fabric.  I had seen the method before, but had never attempted it.

The mini quilt on page 17 caught my eye and I decided it was time to give it a try. It really is slick, but especially when working this small it is important to get your seams accurate. And I always sliver trim the finished product, to make sure they are all the same size.                                                This little piece finished just under 10x12. That is a hair larger than the pattern, but I cut my borders just a bit wider.  I machine quilted the whole thing. I wanted to do some of the quilting by hand, but there just wasn't time.
I actually had another "keep someone warm" finish this month! On a socially distanced shop hop with a friend back in September, I was taken by the Timber Gnomies fabric line from Henry Glass. My youngest daughter loves the gnomes and I thought this might make a fun throw quilt for her--for Christmas!?! What was a thinking? I swore years ago (after frantic Christmas finishes) never to make quilts as Christmas gifts--save that for birthdays! But how hard would it be to whip up my favorite quick strippie quilt pattern? I must have a very short memory.
But I did it!
This quilt is based on Mary Johnson's "My Favorite Quick Donation Quilt" pattern. I have used it many times, but I always add borders, and sometimes extra rows. Makes a good twin size quilt that way--or a large throw. I am really pleased with the results, and my daughter does love it.

 

I did straight line quilting down each side of the black, inner border. Then using a longarm ruler, I quilted clamshells over the "strippie" portion. The borders got a large swirl, which design I "pounced" using a stencil. Very quick and easy to follow.

 

 

 

 Henry Glass offered a free strippie pattern for this fabric line, and I did download it, but it was a bit too busy for me. However, you could adapt it to your liking, if you prefer this pattern.

 

 

 

 My son was very happy to finally have his college graduation t-shirt quilt--he graduated over 5 1/2 years ago. And I was thrilled to have it finished for him!


And now for one last gnome (as if those Timber Gnomies were not enough). Here you see our resident Dome Gnome with my monthly mini and a nearly empty basket of holiday soaps. I fill a few baskets with packages of my handcrafted holiday soaps for gifting around my community as the holidays get underway. You see there are two lonely packages left. I know the Christmas season is past, but if you wouldn't mind some gingerbread shaped soaps at your house going into the new year, leave a comment that you would like to be included in the drawing. 

Are you a resolution maker, or not? As for me--not so much. I am more of a daily goal maker, working toward larger goals, so I don't make any dramatic changes to my plans for January.

I hope you have all had times of joy through the season, and times of bringing joy to others. I know you bring joy to me!

Until next time,

Janet O.

 

Okay--I have to do a little more weather geek stuff. Three days ago we had such a pretty hoarfrost. It makes the world look like a fairy land. I just want to share a few photos.

 

 

Feathery frost creating fluff on all surfaces.  I never tire of it. Hopefully you can enlarge the photos for a better look.




Drawing now closed!



Saturday, December 19, 2020

The Beast Conquered

This quilt was started in the summer of 2015 as my youngest son's college graduation quilt. It has appeared here on the blog many times, but progress was halted on more than one occasion due to shoulder problems, then surgery, and finally a long, slow recovery.

It feels so good to have finally taken the last stitches on this king-sized quilt, and completed the label. It may have been meant to be a graduation gift years ago, but this is going under the Christmas tree this year! 

Below is the glamor shot--at least as glamorous as a t-shirt quilt can get.

The twin to this quilt can be seen HERE. I made that one 9 years ago for my oldest son's graduation.

I have another near finish that I should be able to share at the end of the month, when I also hope to have a monthly mini ready, but here is a sneak peak.

This was Thursday when I was working very hard to get the quilting finished on my HQ Sweet 16. Friday afternoon I attached the binding and got half of it sewn down by hand on the back. Hope to get the other half finished today. To finish two quilts in one month that are large enough to keep someone warm is a very rare occurrence for me. I want to bask in the feeling for a minute. :)

I had a request from someone who wanted to see my tree that only has handcrafted ornaments this year. I have wanted to do this for several years, but I always hate to leave off the ones we have collected on family vacations, or the ceramic ones I painted, or the Matreshka doll ornaments that echo my doll collection. But since we won't be hosting any family gatherings, I figured no one would care if I left those ornaments off this year. You should be able to enlarge the photos to see the ornaments more clearly.

These photos get the tree from most angles. You can enlarge them to see the ornaments. The crocheted chain, large felt ornaments, and most of the counted cross-stitch were all made around 40 years ago, early in our marriage when buying ornaments wasn't an option. Many of them haven't been on the tree in decades. There are ornaments made by my mother and mother-in-law, my daughters, granddaughter, myself, neighbors, and some of you.

You may have noticed a little guy sitting on the window ledge. That is our "Gnome in a Dome." Many of you have an elf on a shelf, and some have a Nisse or two (or more). When hubby and I recently visited a Christmas display at a local garden center we couldn't help but notice that gnomes seemed to be the predominant theme. We decided we could use a gnome for our dome. He is a cute little guy.

We will be having Mom join us for a few days next week. It will be a privilege to have her with us for Christmas this year. There will be precious memories made. She wasn't supposed to live to see last Christmas, so it is a miracle she has made it this long. Though frail and struggling with short-term memory issues, she is still spunky and her dry wit keeps us laughing.

If you are celebrating Christmas, or Chanukah, or any other special traditions in your family, I hope you will cherish those with whom you are able to gather, virtually or physically. Make memories that will be remembered fondly. Choose to set aside differences, forgive past hurts, reach out to those who may be a bit harder to love. See if you can help someone feel valued. Choose to be part of the change the world can use right now.

Until next time,

Janet O.

 

Earlier this week I was walking to my car in a parking lot and was captivated by the view of this sun dog. It is brighter than any I have seen before (does this prove that I am a weather geek?). ;)