Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Plethora of Projects

(I love the word plethora.)
When I was making Lori's "Pink Lemonade" I made a few extras of the red Shoo-fly blocks. I needed a runner for my hutch to blend in with the Valentine's Day decor, so I pulled out those little blocks, made a couple more, and put this together.
I will call this one Raspberry Lemonade.
I think I want to quilt the center with the paisley heart design I saw on LuAnn's blog. She was kind enough to send me the link to Leah Day's tutorial for this design. I will bind it with the red I used in the setting squares.
I finally quilted my Itty Bitty Primitive Pinwheels. The one at the LQS was quilted in a straight line grid and I couldn't see a better way to do it. You can see the pattern more clearly on the back. 

My lines aren't perfectly straight, but it will do. Now I need to choose a binding and get it finished. I already have a home for it. For Christmas my oldest son gave me a shelf unit he knew I wanted for my sewing room. Can you see the picture sitting on top?
Next to the shelves is the cabinet to my Mom's 60-year-old Bernina.
 I can see that I need to trim the dangling threads from those flimsies
hanging above the shelves!
That was a gift many years ago from my youngest daughter. I love it, but have never had a place to display it that I felt did it justice. Now I do and I want this little pinwheel mat to go beneath it.
This picture is a print of "Hands of Time" by Liz Lemon Swindle. I love her artwork. Enlarge it and get a good look.
Rocky Mountain Christmas is coming along. It is still kind of a background project. Mentally I have divided it into 12 sections, and I have 4 of them assembled. 

I take one section, put it on my largest design board and take it to the cutting table. I trim up any corners that didn't turn out as straight as they should have and then take it all to the sewing machine. I web this section, sew the rows together and place it back on the wall. All of this takes very little time, so when I have a few minutes and don't want to think too hard about what I am doing I work up another section.
I'm in the cutting stage of another quilt. I've decided to make another Primitive Gatherings Picnic Quilt from the rest of my Kansas Trouble fabrics. This is the quilt that was my secret at Christmas because it was a gift for my oldest daughter and her husband, but this one is no secret.
I have jumped on board Randy's "The Farmer's Wife Sow-A-long." The particulars, as far as we have them, are found at the end of her post if you click here. My book came in the mail today. 
I'm a little nervous about keeping up, but I am anxious to try! I'm thinking I will make it from my shirt stash and call it The Farmer's Wife Cut up His Shirts. I don't know--that title is still a work in progress. Maybe I will go crazy fussy cutting all those plaids (you know I will have to do that), and give up on them, but I think it would be really cool, and different, in the plaids.  Okay, I know I already have two plaid projects going, but I just love plaid fabrics in quilts!
I've rambled long enough. Until next time,
Keep stitchin'
Janet O.

ETA: I forgot all about linking up my FMQ challenge project, until I saw Denise's link on her post today. Thanks Denise!
Here is my effort, feeble though it may be. I feel like I have regressed in my ability because I haven't been practicing regularly. Hopefully that will change soon--more to come. : )
I had tension problems this time--which I don't usually, my motion seemed anything but free, and I kept running into the pins. Talk about not seeing the obvious!! Lovely, it is not, but finished, it is! And now for the link.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

On the Wall

Rocky Mountain Christmas (aka Smokey Mountain Stars by Bonnie Hunter) is back on the design wall. I intend to at least get it to flimsy stage in the next 2 or 3 weeks, amid all of the other projects. I won't be quilting it until much later this year, but I want to have the top ready. Right now I do have all those corners sewn to the squares, but the squares and borders are just stuck to the wall. I wanted to make sure I could get enough border cut from the shirt I wanted to use. It was only an XL shirt. I have made the quilt a tad larger than the pattern and I wasn't sure if I could get enough 5" strips from the shirt. I made the border 4" instead and I could have still cut 1 or 2 more strips. I had to fussy cut them in order to match up the plaids when I piece them. Maybe I am the only person who would have done that (no, I think I know at least one other blogger who would do the same. Do you know who you are?) but I had to do it. : )

I'm not sure which was the leader/ender and which was the real project, but today Pink Lemonade by Lori D. got assembled along with Block #1 of Marti Mitchell's Ramblin' Rose Meets Jamestown. The name "Pink Lemonade" doesn't seem to fit mine  because my yellow isn't anything like lemonade. I've been trying to come up with a name for it. Cider Squeezin's comes to mind. Have you ever had cider from an apple press? I don't know--I'll have to give it more thought.

I'll leave you with this shot of the cloud cap over the mountains out my back door. The alpacas came to the fence after I took this shot and I took a couple of photos of them looking me right in the eye, but those turned out blurry, of course. 

Janet O.

Monday, January 23, 2012

This and That

I looked at the date of my last entry and realized it has been over a week since that post. I guess I have been busy, but I can't really say with what. On the quilting front, I finally got the corners of Pink Lemonade made on Saturday night. Up to this point I had been really careful with the directional prints. That all went out the window with these little guys!
Hopefully tonight I can get the rows all sewn together and get this to a flimsy. I'm really glad I joined in on this little QAL. Thanks for doing this, Lori! I made some extra of the red shoofly blocks and am hoping to work them into a Valentine's table runner.
Have you seen the haul Bonnie received for her 50th birthday? I have to share a little coincidence about the block I sent her. Remember the Storytime Stars quilt she made for the baby her brother and his wife are expecting any day? Though I usually only quilt with bright fabrics for my grandchildren, I was very taken by this quilt. The bold graphics and primary colors just grabbed me. I was so happy when she posted the pattern and I printed it off immediately. So when I got word through my blogging friend, Mary C., about sending Bonnie birthday blocks, I knew immediately I was going to adapt Storytime Stars somehow. I made the blocks smaller and instead of piecing a tiny checkered border, I used a checked print. EVERY single bit of fabric in this block came from the scrap basket I used to raid with great regularity at a now closed LQS. I knew all of those bright pieces and those b'day prints would come in handy someday, even if they were out of my normal color-comfort zone.

Some have wanted to know the size of this block. It is a 12" finished.
Each star is four inches from point to point.
So I sent this block off last week to wing its way to Bonnie in North Carolina. Upon opening it she sent me an email saying that she just sent the Storytime Stars quilt off to her brother and SIL, who happen to live where I do--not just the same state, but the same valley! Who knew? I told her to warn her brother that if I ever see a couple with a baby wrapped in that quilt I will be wanting a closer look--at the quilt and the baby!
If you follow Marj over at Eclectic Quilter blog, you may recall that she had a giveaway a few months ago when she was cleaning some things out. I spoke up for the Ramblin' Rose Meets Jamestown pattern, and was lucky enough to receive it. I'm not usually a flowery fabric person (but I do love Floribunda), but over the past two or three years I have been drawn to some rose prints in tan, green and red shades. I have picked them up in scrap baskets, remnants and yardage. That large piece on the right was four yards of a Moda fabric at a thrift store for $4. I have one small table topper I have made from them and figured it was time to do something more. I thought this pattern might be the thing. If I work on one of these blocks each month, hopefully this quilt can grow while staying in the background. I think I might use some other block besides log cabin as the setting squares. I love log cabin blocks, just not sure I want them in these fabrics.

And finally, SOTMD (aka Orca Bay) is progressing slowly. I still love it, though I'm still not sure why. So not my usual style. My mother saw it on my design wall last night and said she wouldn't be able to sleep under such a quilt. I know she said it with love. : )
If I can get more of the cream and white triangles cut (everything else is cut) I will hopefully have more to show when Bonnie does her final Orca Bay Linkup in February.
That does it for now. Until next time, keep stitchin'!
Janet O.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Just Small Stuff

I had hoped to have made amazing progress on Sunset over the Men's Department (Orca Bay) this week, but I didn't. I got more cut out, but very little more sewn. Maybe next week
What did happen was all small stuff, but that doesn't mean it isn't important stuff.
First, I put the borders on my version of the Temecula 12 Days of Christmas quilt (sorry, you'll have to scroll back a little to find it--you can't link on their blog to an individual post). It has been fun to see what so many others have done with this pattern. Carolyn did a nice one in red and white--great for Valentine's Day. Vivian's, in a vintage red and green combination, truly fits the "12 Days of Christmas" name. There are so many others--wish I could link to them all. Mine was from my Civil War repro scrap basket.

Then I got the Itty Bitty Pinwheels sewn together. This finishes at a tiny 10 1/2 inches. When it is quilted I think it will be a table topper in my sewing room.

Finally, I am caught up with parts 1 and 2 of Lori's doll quilt-along at Humble Quilts. I can't believe I got them done before the next part was posted. I wish my yellow was a little lighter. I had said I was doing this entirely from stash, but I didn't really have a yellow in my repro fabrics--just gold. I finally broke down and went to a LQS to look for a yellow. This was all they had in the repros. It is a lovely Jo Morton print, but I had hoped for something not so dark.
I am in the process of trying to choose a sewing machine specifically dedicated to FMQ. I don't want bells and whistles, just something to do the job. If you have a midarm or a DSM with large harp space that you love, or if you've had experience with one you think I should avoid, I would love to know about it. I have all the info from the sewing machine dealers. In fact, I think I am on information overload. Now I would like to hear from those who have used the machines for FMQ.
That's it for now. Until next time,
Janet O.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Dipping my toe in Orca Bay!

I don't do mysteries--so why is this post about two of them? I only began following blogs about a year ago, and I was frequently running into references to Bonnie's mysteries, so I knew they were legend. But I don't do mysteries. Period. You may recall my angst last year over Bonnie's Floribunda quilt. In my "Open letter to Bonnie" I mentioned the knots I would get in my stomach when she alluded to her upcoming mystery. All of her mystery quilts have been amazing, but I DON'T DO MYSTERIES!!
As Bonnie began this mystery I was struck by the photo of Orca Bay that inspired her colors. It made me think of the purplish-orange sunsets over the Rocky Mountains that I see from my home. As she posted the different parts each week I would try to envision them in those colors. I looked at some of the links on her blog and would occasionally see these colors, but not in the shades I imagined. Once the reveal took place I knew I would buy her next book with this pattern and eventually make this quilt in my colors. Why? I don't know. Unless quilting for my grandchildren, I seldom use bright colors. I love orange and purple in my quilts, but not together, and usually in the more muted shades. But this quilt in these colors kept haunting me.
As I was reading posts of other bloggers' progress on Orca Bay over the past few weeks I saw where Kathy had chosen to use a solid piece of fabric in place of the string blocks (I also struggle with wanting to do a bazillion string blocks), and to make half the units for a smaller quilt. Smart woman, that Kathy. But I liked the movement the string blocks give to this quilt. Maybe I could do something like that--but use striped fabric in place of the strings to mimic the movement. Still, I was going to wait for the book to come out. I had plenty to do right now.
The final straw was when I walked past the men's shirts in the thrift store this week and there was a purple striped shirt and a coral-peachy plaid. I was sunk. Everything in this quilt is from men's shirts I bought that day. I was going to call the quilt "Sunset over the Rockies" but maybe "Sunset over the Men's Department" would be more appropriate. My quilt isn't really scrappy--you try and find more than one striped purple or peachy-coral shirt in a thrift store men's department. I'm just thrilled to have what I have.
Only the two blocks are made so far. I had to get the purple and orange parts completely cut to see how many blocks I would be able to make. It will probably be a twin size quilt. I'm working now to catch up on the HSTs and QSTs.

So, as Bonnie said when she learned that I had joined in, I succumbed! But it wasn't a mystery when I did, so I still don't do mysteries!!
Neither was this a mystery anymore when I finally got the Temecula 12 Days of Christmas blocks made. I started them last night after the twelfth block was shown. I am setting them a little differently than suggested, and I'm still playing with the border possibilities. This was a fun little project. If you haven't looked into this, they are leaving it up forever, so jump on it any time. Each block finishes at 3", so it doesn't take much fabric. I just pulled out my basket of CW scraps and made all of the blocks without cutting into yardage. Not so lucky on the borders.
So I still don't do mysteries. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!!

Janet O.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

More little quilts in the making!

There are several projects I should be working on, but I had an urge to try something different. I wanted it to be a quick project. I'd had the pattern for the "Itty Bitty Primitive Pinwheels" from Primitive Gatherings for several months, so I decided now was the time.
The fabrics look washed out to me in this photo.
Well, it isn't as "quick" as I had expected. I haven't had a lot of sewing time, but I started on this Friday evening and at this point I just have the very small blocks on the design board, waiting to be sewn together. I know many of you have made a "Twister" quilt, but if you are unfamiliar with this technique, this is how it works. There are many template sizes on the market, but this one  starts with 2 1/2" squares, which you sew together in rows, making concentric squares (I chose to reverse the position of the light and darks on mine) with the colors.
Then using the template (in photo above) that comes with the pattern, and the tiny rotary cutter, you match the askew lines on the template with the seams on your flimsy and cut away. As you cut the 1 1/2" squares, you lay them together in the same order. This creates the little pinwheels in the 10x10" finished quilt. There is one of these little quilts on display at a LQS and it catches my eye every time I am in there, so I decided I should make one.
Another thing I am going to try for the first time is a Quilt-Along. Lori, over at Humble Quilts, has posted the first info on her Doll Quilt-Along. I always think I have a lot of CW repro fabrics, but when I went stash diving for the fabrics for this little quilt I was having a hard time finding the right colors. Still not sure if I have them, but it is a place to start. I'm determined not to go to the fabric store for more fabric for a while, so these will have to do.

I must say, I am loving what I see of everyone's Orca Bay quilts. So many stunning quilts! Nice work! 

Until next time,
Janet O.