Tuesday, September 27, 2011

May I have the envelope, please.

The lucky winner of Lynn Roddy Brown's third book, "Patchwork-Play Quilts," is grendelskin! Actually, her name is Sally, but grendelskin is her blog name. Thanks to all who left comments and posted links for this giveaway. I'm glad so many of you were introduced to Lynn's books. They are a great resource for scrap quilters!

Recently several bloggers have been putting the word out about John'aLee's request for star blocks in muted reds, whites, and blues. She is making five quilts for the loved ones of her almost SIL, who was shot in Afghanistan shortly before he was to be married to her daughter. Instead of a wedding they had a funeral. So sad! Make sure the people you love know you love them. Life is tenuous.

I was motivated by Freda's post (The Adventures of the Empress of the Universe) sharing her initial efforts and decided to jump on board. I got fabric pulled Saturday evening and started cutting. I hoped to spend yesterday afternoon and evening sewing them all up, but alas, life interfered.  I did get the cutting finished and thought I would just share the blocks in the "design board" stage. I will get a little done on them tonight, but the finish may have to wait now until my monthly "quilt with Mom" event this Thursday.

This is the Missouri Star block, though I did throw in a
9-patch in place of the plain center square. Every fabric
in this block is printed with some type of star.
This is Ohio Star. I used Barbara Brackman's
directions, but there are easier ways to make this block.
I think the red fabric looks like fireworks.
I punched up this Sawtooth Star pattern by adding
the 16-patch to the center of the block. There are tiny
flags in the tan fabric in the 16-patch.
This is called Barbara Frietchie in Barabara Brackman's
CW post. By different color placement you could make
this into an "easy Lemoyne Star", right Freda? 
Finally we have a block named Richmond, after the
Confederacy's capital city. I may play with the
color placement on this one a little more.
These blocks were all made from my "Patriotic Scraps" drawer. I am pleased with how they are coming together. If you'd like to help make star blocks click the link here for the details.

Now I have the urge to make a patriotic quilt. I made one years ago and donated it somewhere. It would be nice to have one in the house when Independence Day rolls around. I guess that urge will just have to wait in line behind all of the other quilting urges.

Until next time, from the little mountain valley where the sagebrush grows,
Janet O.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Book Giveaway!! WooHoo!!

Hey, all you scrap quilters, are you familiar with Lynn Roddy Brown? If not, here is your chance to get acquainted! She is an expert scrap quilter and just published her third book on the subject through Martingale & Company, "Patchwork-Play Quilts." I own both of her other books (and love them) and had reviewed her second book on Amazon. Earlier this year I decided to see if she had a website and to learn if she had any other books. There was word on her site that she would be coming out with her third book soon. I was so excited I emailed her to let her know I was looking forward to its release.

The result of all this was that she offered to send me a copy when it came out if I would review it on Amazon as well. I suggested the possibility of another copy being offered as a giveaway on my blog. They arrived in yesterday's mail--autographed!!


As soon as I saw the package I knew what it contained.
 I was in the middle of a project with a deadline and I had to leave them sitting on the counter, unopened, so that I didn't get distracted (which is easy for me to do!). When I could see that I had progressed far enough with my project to allow myself the time to open, I let myself browse for 5 whole minutes. I was so excited! But I had to get back to my project.

Finally, late at night, I was able to settle in and really give the book a good going over. This is a treat! What scrap quilter doesn't have a stash of leftover strips, HSTs, 9-patch and 4-patch blocks? In this book Lynn shares many ways to use up those bits, while breaking down some of the fabric stash as well. Take a look at some of these quilts from the book.
I love the way she uses value in this one. The different values of the 9-patch blocks create the illusion that some of them are glowing. Wonderful!
 This quilt was made entirely from leftover HSTs from another quilt--hence the name. Lynn shares how studying a vintage quilt helped her mix up the values within the pinwheels to accomplish that aged look.
Look at this scrappy gem! What a variety of fabrics have come together in this great quilt. And by reversing the value placement from one block to the next there is so much more visual interest!
Can you pick out the 4-patch and 9-patch blocks that create this wonderful argyle pattern?  By using the same orange fabric in the center of each 9-patch, Lynn was able to bring a unifying element to this scrappy mix.
 Can you believe this mind-boggling 9-patch? Lynn gives a schedule for making the blocks that is doable to have all of the elements ready over a year's time.
This is one for which Lynn doesn't give the pattern, but she shares it as encouragement for us to use up our leftover elements. She made it using the HSTs, 4-patch and 9-patch blocks that had been piling up from exchanges and quilt leftovers. She only had to make one 6" 4-patch to create this top.

Well, that gives you a good idea of the types of the 17 patterns within the pages of this book. I realize I didn't include some of the quilts she shares that are still scrappy, but with a more controlled color palette. If that is your style there are patterns to warm your quilter's heart as well.

I love some of Lynn's homespun, scrap quilting wisdom. She talks about mental-health sewing, when she can just sew up some scrap units without a specific project in mind, saying, "Touching my fabric and hearing the hum of my sewing machine is very therapeutic for me." When sewing units this way, or for swaps, there is the added benefit of sewing without the stress of having to "agonize over fabric choices." She puts the units aside for later use and DOESN'T consider them a UFO. She says that fabric started in her stash, it is still in her stash--it has just changed form. (Love it!) According to her, "if you already own the fabric, you might as well enjoy playing with it."  

Lynn also includes the story of her journey as a scrap quilter, plus a wonderful section of the role value plays in the look of scrap quilts (if you couldn't already tell from the comments on the quilts above, it is a big factor!), and a great 13 page section with full color illustrations sharing some of her favorite techniques in quilt making. Is your mouth watering yet?

How can you win your own signed, spine-never-cracked copy of this great book? Just leave a comment here saying you are interested. Also, I don't usually do this on giveaways, but I want Lynn's book to be seen by as many as possible, so if you have a blog and will post a link there to this giveaway and say you have done so, I will put your name in a second time. I will ship the book wherever you live, so don't worry if you are an international reader. I will take comments on this until midnight, Monday the 26th. I will post the winner on Tuesday, the 27th.

And just in case you are not familiar with them, here is a look at her two previous books.

They are both excellent books for scrap quilters, and as I said in my Amazon review of the "Block-Swap" book, you don't have to participate in swaps to use this book. I have never done a swap, but I have used the book to make a wonderful scrap quilt seen here.

Okay, there you have it! Leave your comment and you are in, link to this and say so and you are in twice. Good Luck!

Until next time, from the little mountain valley where the sagebrush grows--and is very high on the pollen count right now (you can tell I have allergies),
Janet O.

Monday, September 19, 2011

We have a winner!

Doesn't Connie B. look happy? She should! She just won the quilt that was donated by Randy at Barrister's Block for my daughter's "Running for Ben" fundraiser . You can read about the fundraiser here (look for the Chinese Coins quilt near the end of the post), and the donated quilt here. Randy, she wanted you to know that the quilt was going to someone who understands and appreciates the work that goes into making a beautiful quilt like this.
My eight-year-old grandson was so taken with the quilt that he even entered with his own money to try and win it.
The quilt helped us raise over a thousand dollars at our booth at the Top of Utah Marathon this past weekend. Thank you, Randy. It really made a difference! It has also made me want to be more productive so that I will have quilts on hand, ready for good causes. What a great reason to make more quilts!
Until next time, from the little mountain valley where the sagebrush grows,
Janet O.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Goodies in the Mail from LuAnn at Loose Threads!

If you haven't seen LuAnn's post with the instructions for this quilt check it out. This is LuAnn's own version of the Flurry pattern available here for free download at the Fat Quarter Shop.
She wanted a wall hanging so she made her packages using charm squares, rather than a layer cake. Then she had a giveaway for the fabrics to make your own and I won! The package arrived today.
This gracious woman was already going above and beyond in her give away--it included 1 1/2 yards of Kona white and 1/2 yard each of the Kona red and green, along with 2 of the Flurry charm packs.

But the package contained more. Along with everything promised, LuAnn had added 3/4 yard of this cute candy fabric for binding. She had gone to Quilts Plus to see how they had quilted their Flurry quilt and decided to get this to bind hers. She got some for me, too.
Isn't it fun? What a nice surprise to find in the mail on a busy, hectic day!
Among other things, I had just returned home from a nearby cemetery where I visited the grave of my dear friend who died after a brief illness in May. This would have been her 60th birthday today. I had driven to town first and picked up some of her favorite flowers to put on her grave. As I stood waiting for them to be wrapped I just started crying as memories of this special friend flooded my mind. I felt very conspicuous, and couldn't get out of the store fast enough. I drove to the cemetery in tears. Once there I sat on a bench by her grave in this little burial place at the base of the mountains. I looked back toward the entrance that gives a beautiful view out over the valley. I spent about 20 minutes there, all alone, listening to the birds. They were usually the only thing I could hear, and it was very calming.
I left for home feeling more at peace. When I found LuAnn's package in the mail and unwrapped this treasure, I was smiling. Thanks seems inadequate, LuAnn. You are most generous!

Until next time, from the little mountain valley where the sagebrush grows,
Janet O.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hometown News

Have you seen this everywhere today? You can't click on a news site without it popping up. (The guy from the motorcycle was trapped under the car--bystanders rescued him at their own peril.)
This is in Logan, Utah--my hometown. I'm sure people in your town would have done the same. There are good people everywhere, aren't there? Heartwarming--and not because of the burning motorcycle. : )
Janet O.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

What a Beauty!

I just had to share this. You may recall a few posts back that I mentioned donating a quilt for my daughter's fundraiser and how I was sorry I didn't have another quilt ready for her next one. A very generous blogger offered to send a quilt to be donated and it arrived today. With her permission, I wanted to show you what Randy has sent us. It is a beautifully scrappy double 4-patch in a controlled color palette, and mostly batiks. It is a very soothing combination of blues, purples and pinks with splashes of yellow in the narrow border.  I love it. I don't think my photo does it justice. I told Randy that I sat with it over my lap for a while this evening admiring the fabrics and I think we bonded. Wonder what my chances are of winning it?
Thank you so much, Randy. I hope to be able to pay it forward someday!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Labor Day respite

DH and I are usually quite the stick-in-the-muds when it comes to 4-day  weekends. We don't go anywhere or have fun plans--just hang around home and water the garden, mow lawn, do dishes--you get the idea. 

This year we deviated from the norm and drove up the neighboring canyon for an hour to a beautiful little lake nestled up in the mountains (locals will recognize this as Tony Grove).
In the cool morning air we walked the loop around the lake (about 40 minutes IF you don't take pictures--DH said next time he won't remind me to bring the camera!).
The lake was glassy--sometimes it was hard to tell what was real and what was reflection. Can you pick out the far shoreline in the photo above? From the other side of the lake the morning sun made these yellow flowers glow.
 The photo below is kind of fuzzy, but it has a story. As we walked in the stillness all we could usually hear was the buzz of the bees in the profuse wildflowers. Suddenly we heard a whooshing sound overhead and looked up to see this hawk swooping down on its prey. It missed its mark, circled a couple of times and flew up to this dead tree limb to scope out a new victim.

Here are some of the bees about their labors on Labor Day. Believe me when I say that this is only a fraction of the wildflower pictures I snapped. DH will confirm that.
On the road to and from the lake I worked on stitching hexagons to papers--I will conquer that project yet! At home we watched some of the U.S. Open and I pulled out the t-shirt quilt which came back from the quilter a couple of weeks ago and got the edges trimmed and ready for binding. I've only bound one other king size quilt and that was over 10 years ago. I have no idea how long this will take, but knowing my speed, don't expect a post of a finished quilt anytime soon.
Our morning jaunt was just a three hour excursion, but it was very refreshing and set the tone for a good day! How did you spend your Labor Day?

Until next time, from the little mountain valley where the sagebrush grows,
Janet O.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Floribunda is now a flimsy. I did finally get the borders on in between rounds of freezing the corn from our garden this weekend. (DH and I agree that we should probably cut back on the amount of corn we plant next year. After all, there are just two of us at home now.)

After getting the inner yellow and the dark borders on I felt like it still needed something. I don't usually put light borders on the outer edge of my quilts, but that seemed to be what this one needed. I'll probably have to bind it in the dark floral border fabric--it is the only one of which I have enough.

As you must know by now, this was inspired by Bonnie Hunter's Floribunda pattern of the traditional Jacob's Ladder, based on a vintage quilt she found. My florals were mainly of the "dark and dirty" variety, but the splashes of red here and there give it some sparkle.

If you are interested in making one and haven't already heard of Freda's very casual QAL that will be starting soon, check it out here. I would love to make another one but I really need to finish the Tree of Life quilt. I will be hand quilting that one, so I need to hurry and get it in the frame so it will be completed before I am too old to see my stitches (I am so slow at getting things hand quilted).

Just wanted to mention something else. In my last post I told of the quilt I had donated to my daughter's fundraiser for the foundation that researches the seizure syndrome her youngest son has. I also said she was doing another one this month and that I was sorry I didn't have a quilt ready to donate to that one. Friday evening I received an email from a very generous quilter who offered to send me a quilt she was willing to donate for this month's fundraiser. I know quilters are always willing to help other people, but this was so completely unexpected. I was overwhelmed--still am. My heartfelt thanks go out to you!

Until next time, from the little mountain valley where we have a football team that almost beat Auburn Saturday,
Janet O.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A rose by any other name ...

Floribunda has been my leader/ender project while I have been working on the Tree of Life quilt. I got all of the 4-patch and HSTs sewn in that manner and then I would sew together a block or two when I needed a break from the other quilt. Since I am still toying with the border options on the Tree of Life, I used my "sew time" today to finish up the blocks on Floribunda and this is what I have.
I can see that I need to rotate a couple of the corner
border blocks. I mean to have them echo the
direction of the inner corner blocks.
This is the original size of the vintage quilt that inspired Bonnie's pattern (6x8 blocks). I had planned on going bigger, but as I got to this point I realized something. If I just added one row of blocks each way (7x9), the pattern would no longer be symmetrical. That won't bother everyone, but I admit it would bother me. I didn't think my leftover floral fabrics would sustain an 8x10 block quilt (neither, I think, would my attention span), so I opted to stay with the 6x8 and just add borders. It will finish at 72x88. I need to check the LQS today and see if they have a floral I can use for the border (I know, the pieces I have up there aren't cut straight--it's all I had) on their clearance table at $4 a yard, hopefully something not quite so dark as my test pieces. There isn't enough of any floral left in my stash to make this border and I think this quilt is busy enough. I would like the border in just one print, rather than pieced. Once I get this to flimsy stage I'll probably set it aside until I have a purpose for it. It has been fun to make using fabrics I wasn't sure would ever find a home.

While on the subject of Floribunda, maybe I was so drawn to this pattern partly because of the name. The word floribunda means a plant, especially a rose, that bears dense clusters of flowers. Maybe you also grow floribunda roses--six of my seven rosebushes are of the floribunda variety. Hybrid Teas are a little less hardy and don't do as well in my location. Recently I got a couple of photos of some of those "dense clusters." Both of these roses have lovely scents, as well. I always look for that when buying rose bushes. I think it is rather disheartening to bend over to smell a beautiful rose and be met with no scent.

I hit the jackpot at a thrift store a couple of days ago. They had scrap bags and I found two that looked promising. For a total of $3.50, these fabrics are going into my stash. There is at least 1/8th yard of most of them and some are more like 1/4th yard. There are KT fabrics, Kaye England, some batiks, homespun, and several other good pieces.

What was crazy was that among the "not-for-quilts" scraps that I won't be keeping, there was a substantial piece that my mother and I recognized. When I was a girl (many decades ago) she made most of my clothes and she had made a dress for me out of that very fabric. It is a fall colored floral, but it isn't 100% cotton, or I would definitely have worked it into Floribunda.

One final note--Chinese Coins found a home. My youngest grandson has a rare and severe seizure disorder. My daughter and her husband just got the diagnosis confirmed with a genetic test a couple of months ago. As soon as it was known, my daughter was determined to raise money to help with research. She has run a local 1/2 marathon a couple of times and was prepping to run it again this year. She approached one of the organizers who happens to be a neighbor of hers to see if they would let her do a fundraiser in conjunction with the race. In just a few weeks and with the help of some very good friends, she got a logo designed, gathered prizes from sponsors, had stickers, tickets, a banner and fliers printed. She had the logo and sponsors on t-shirts for the volunteers and family, and on running shirts for her and her friends that ran the race. This quilt was sitting in a closet at my house, already quilted, but not bound. I offered it as one of the prizes and my Mom bound it, knowing that as slow as I am it probably wouldn't have been ready on race day. It was very satisfying to see it go to help a good cause and the winner was very happy to receive it. Just in case any of you have noticed that I have a new Favicon--I know it is too tiny to see, but it is the logo used for the "Running for Ben" fundraiser. Here it is in a more readable size.
Ben is about 2 1/2 years old and has been having seizures for 2 years.
He is such a sweetheart and we are lucky to know and love him.

My daughter will be doing a fundraiser again this month for the full marathon. I wish I had another quilt that would be ready to go.

Until next time, from the little mountain valley where the wind has been blowing all day and the pollen count is too high for comfort,
Janet O.