Saturday, April 28, 2012

More Sewing and Sowing

Primitive Gatherings Picnic Quilt #2 is back from the longarm quilter. I love what she did with it. I asked that she try to keep a vintage feel to the quilting design and I think she was very successful. Cross-hatching, wreaths and feathers did the trick.
The binding is now sewn on one side by machine and my daughter, Aimee, has offered to stitch the other side down. This will soon be a finish!
Speaking of Aimee, she wanted a table runner for her birthday earlier this month (I made the St. Patrick's table runner for her sister, Angie, last month) and she referenced a small Lori Smith "Fit to Frame" pattern I made last year as something that had the feel of what she would like. So using the small stars that make up that design, I made a few extra stars, added sashing, and cornerstones and modified the borders a bit. This is the end result--just sewed the final border on last night and now I need to get it basted and quilted. I think this one may be in for some straight line quilting. Okay with you, Aimee?
No, Chris, I haven't abandon your birthday gift. It just hasn't come together the way I had planned so it has to wait until I get new inspiration. It is coming, though. : )

I was also doing some sowing yesterday with Randy's Barrister's Sow-Along. (Our Master Sower now has a tab on her blog for keeping track of all of the block instructions!) I have now completed the latest five blocks posted--three regular and two bonus blocks.
These four all turned out as planned.

This one, however, apparently had a correction posted on the cutting instructions after I had already cut them. I didn't recognize the problem until midway through the making of the block and at that point I was too tired to remake the block. I toyed with it and came up with the border and cornerstones to make it the right size.

So now I am all caught up on the plaid set, but I still need to do the Christmas set, which will be even easier since this bundle of Christmas fabrics came in the mail recently from Sio of Scraps and Threadtales blog. My sincere thanks for your contribution!
A shop hop began today that encompasses a 500 mile loop through Northern Utah, Southeastern Idaho and Southwestern Wyoming. It runs for two weeks to give everyone the chance to make the loop. Three shops in my valley (at the south end of the loop) are participating and I visited one of them today. This shop has the best selection of batiks in the valley, so I spent most of my time in the shop petting them and changing my mind over which ones I would get (while DH sat in the car with his Nook).  This is what had to come home with me (the patterns were in the 30% off bins)...
If any of you (Carla) will be visiting the shops in Logan, let me know and maybe we can meet up!

You are all very patient with my lengthy posts. If I would post more often I wouldn't have so much to squeeze in each time. I will leave you with the sight that greeted me from my deck this morning. Our recent record-breaking heat suddenly left us, and a cold rain in the valley meant a new dusting of snow over the mountains.
 Until next time,
Janet O.
p.s. I am approaching my one year anniversary of blogging and I am planning a giveaway for my blog friends in a couple of weeks--so stay tuned! : )

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Caught up--well, I was for a few hours!

It felt good to go to bed last night all caught up on my Barrister's Blocks, even though I knew as of today I would no longer be caught up. This is what I have "Sow" far in what I am calling "Barrister's Day Off".
I'm excited to be able to include some of the shirts that I picked up at the thrift store yesterday in future blocks. Oh, such wonderful colors!

My second set of blocks, made in Christmas fabrics, does not include every block. I started this set on the second group of blocks Randy posted and rather than go back I just decided to go from where we were. I also omitted making the block with the little flying geese from the recent set. I am not stressing over the Christmas set--just making what I want and being happy to have it when it is finished.

And sure enough, this morning there were four new patterns waiting for us on Randy's blog.

Something very exciting came in the mail Monday! A flying scarecrow arrived all the way from Nova Scotia! I know there were many of you who saw that I won Kaaren's giveaway--I couldn't believe it! I was the first to comment in over 100 entries and RNG chose #1!! He is so cute. Just look at him.

I told Kaaren I couldn't bear to put him away with the fall decor yet--we needed bonding time. So he will sit here, where he will be each fall, until I bring out the patriotic decor in June. If you know of Kaaren you know she does exceptional work. The detail on this is meticulous. I am honored to have him! "Thank you" seems inadequate, Kaaren!

I did get the baby quilt I was quilting finished in time for the shower--I bound it on the machine. I really enjoyed quilting this. Though it was nothing fancy, it turned out well enough, I thought. The link for this quick quilt is in my last post, if you need something in a hurry, it works up fast, but looks good.
I want to share something I did that may interest some of you FMQers. I had been told of Patsy Thompson's DVDs and free pattern downloads by more than one quilter. I purchased a couple of her DVDs and downloaded all of her free patterns. I slipped all of the pages into plastic sleeves and it filled a large looseleaf binder. It was great when I just wanted to flip through designs, but when actually quilting, it was very cumbersome and I found it hard to place it anywhere to refer to that it wasn't just in the way. My "Anne Bright" and "Leah Day" design books are spiral bound and so handy. Well, I took some of the images from Patsy's website and printed them out on coverstock, which I then had laminated (along with a blank page of coverstock for the back). I took all of the pages out of their sleeves and slipped them between the laminated covers and had them spiral bound. I am very pleased with the resulting book and have already used it.

I did the same thing with the small booklet of free designs you can print from Melody Johnson.

I did get the basket top assembled with the tiny baskets in the corners. I like it. Amazing what you can do with the leftover triangles and scraps from someone else's quilt!

I don't know how I want to quilt this, so it will have to wait until I get inspiration. Maybe that will come next month when I attend the Home Machine Quilting Show in Salt Lake City. I am so excited. I have never done anything like this before and if it weren't for the help of DH and two of his cousins, who are good friends to me, it wouldn't be happening now. I am registered for classes from Karen McTavish, Sally Terry and Pam Clarke. Can't wait!!
You still have a couple of days to get in on Doniene's Fabulous Fifteenth Fabric Freebie! She has some fresh looking red and yellow prints this time around. Good luck!
I actually get to stay home and sew this rainy Wednesday and I am excited to dig into my CW prints and get going on some gifts that are overdue, and one that soon will be. : )
Happy stitching,
Janet O.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What's on my bed, and on my wall, and in my hand, and under my needle, etc.!

On My Bed

"What's on your bed?" Bonnie asked (it's a linky party). And I had actually just stripped my bed that morning and was getting ready to put on a lighter quilt. I think I have shown this quilt once, almost a year ago. My Mom made it from a pattern by Mabeth Oxenreider that appeared on the cover of a quilt magazine years ago. As has happened before, I bought the magazine because I fell in love with the scrappy quilt on the cover, but it was my Mother who ended up making it before I could get around to it. It doesn't always work out that I end up with the finished quilt. I'm glad it did this time!
Mom only hand quilts her projects. Look at these stitches--this is where I learned to quilt!
Speaking of tiny, when I posted about this quilt of 5" finished baskets I commented that I thought once the parts were all sewn together the sashing pieces would be long enough that I wouldn't need cornerstones. Well, it is all sewn now, except the borders, and I do need something for the corners.
On My Wall
 Here's the tiny part--Carol (of Brown Quilts) suggested little baskets for the cornerstones. I laughed about it at first--they would have to finish at 2". But with Carol's encouragement, I took on the challenge. This is the first little cornerstone. The others are cut and ready to put together. I love it! Thanks, Carol!
In My Hand
I am almost finished quilting the largest project I have put under the needle of my new toy so far (how long do you own something before it is no longer considered new? Just wondering.)--and it is only a crib quilt. It was made using the Quick Strippy Quilt Pattern from Mary Johnson. I needed something to practice on using an all-over design. I'm using the loopy design with stars inserted (think March FMQ Challenge). I know you can't really see the quilting here, but I was more interested in sharing the pattern. Turns out there is a baby shower this Saturday for a relative having a baby boy. Perfect--if I can get it bound in time. As I have said before, I am the World's Slowest Binder!!
Under My Needle

I have completed a pile of practice sandwiches and a few table toppers and wall hangings, but this is the biggest project. I am beginning to see the wisdom of the "slider" products that make the surface on which you are pushing the quilt around a little less resistant. I can imagine it will make a big difference on a bed-size quilt. I will have to look into those.
Just Laying Around Somewhere
I got this book in the mail yesterday and I am very happy with it. After my trying experience with feathers in the February FMQ Challenge, I was intrigued when I saw a reference to this method somewhere.
The book does not disappoint. It is full of diagrams and ideas. I haven't tried the method yet--my machine is kinda busy, but I think it looks more doable than many other traditional ways of doing feathers. But the feathers still look traditional. And how cool is it that Sally Terry is coming to the Home Machine Quilting Show next month, being held only two hours away? Are any of you coming? I'm still trying to work out getting there, but it sounds wonderful!
Also in yesterday's mail was a squishy with fabrics from Grace. We did a little swap. She sent some lovely repro fabrics (especially purple--love it, Grace!!) and I sent batiks. Always fun to exchange with others.
Okay, when I started this post Randy hadn't yet posted her Sow-Along Bonus Block, so I need to hurry and get the last batch of blocks made in Christmas fabrics before I get too far behind. Once I start slipping behind on something I have a tendency to give up, and I don't want that to happen.
Until next time, 
Janet O.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Tryouts on the design wall, a winner, and many thanks!

This looks terrible when I look closely--threads hanging,
the inner plaid border strips are so crooked--I promise
it will look better when I sew it all together. 
The red border won hands down on the "two cents" poll for my little baskets. I auditioned it and found when it was all the way around the quilt it seemed to smother the baskets. I thought it had looked good, too, when it was just down the one side. I tried other options and the suggestion that came from my daughter's comment to use three borders ended up looking best to me. Thanks, Aimee, and thanks for everyone's input. I really feel like the brainstorming via blog is helpful to get a different perspective on something when you are stuck.
I tried colored cornerstones on those bare corners in the above photo, but didn't like that look for this quilt. I think when the center is all sewn together the quilt will end up small enough that these pieces will fit. I don't have enough of any of the other tan/gold fabrics, so I will "make do."

I did have enough HSTs left from this little quilt to make a very small piece. I adapted the idea from the Baby Basket quilt Kathie linked us to recently. I had to "make do" even more on this one--the basket is not the one in the pattern (though it is the same size), and I had to do the borders a little differently, but I wouldn't have thought of this without that pattern. Thanks, Kathie!

Another little basket quilt got a border tryout on the design wall. Of my four Temecula Blessings Baskets mini quilts, this is the only one that is all assembled--except for the borders, which are just stuck to the wall. I decided I needed a border on it that would link the center basket, since it was brighter than everything else (and more wonky, too, if you want to get technical. I lost so many points on these baskets, as others have done before me, I should name this one "Pointless"). The light border is the same fabric as the center basket, but it appears darker to me in the border strips. I think I am going to use it, unless someone has a better idea.
Finally, I did get the plaid set of the latest "Barrister's Blocks" made. I'll have to do some catching up on my Christmas set. Thanks to Randy for all the work she puts in to this!
I think I am liking the blue/green one best of this group. I just got that teal colored shirt last week. Speaking of which, have you seen Bonnie's video of taking a shirt apart. I thought I knew how to do that but I admit, she has some slick tricks to make it go even faster. It was kind of fun to watch. Thanks, Bonnie!

The winner of the pattern giveaway is Mavis, a very creative quilter. She has been contacted by email. Thanks to all who participated. We'll have to do it again sometime. 

I finally got my herbal soap made this week, so maybe I will be throwing some of it in with my next giveaway. I will have been blogging for one year come the middle of May, so there should be some kind of hoopla involved (definition of hoopla; unnecessary fuss. That sums it up.)!
Okay, enough already! Until next time,
Janet O.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Few Feathers, Some Baskets and A Little Giveaway

I'm up in the wee hours getting ready for my 3rd and final "Feathered Star" class and I'm realizing I don't understand what to do next, so I will have to go to class without everything prepared to put together.
I have all of these parts pinned to my design wall, but I can't see anywhere in the directions that there is a size listed for the setting triangles. My brain is too tired to figure it out, so I'd better quit before I mess it up. This class has used the perforated paper piecing technique to make the feathers and the mini-mariner's compass. The instructor is the same one that taught the perforated paper piecing for the large mariner's compass in the class I took last year. I did a tutorial for this method here.
We've also used the stack 'n whack method for the "arms" of the star and the tips, and the four patch blocks that will go in the border. I've never used this method before--very clever. I would like to know who thinks up these things?

As I've worked on this I have continued to use the Spring Baskets as my leader/enders. Just two more baskets to go and I will be assembling this little quilt. I am currently auditioning borders on the wall.
 (I still haven't corrected the error in the top of one basket.) These baskets were made with bonus triangles Mom gave me from a quilt she made last year. I'm trying to use only those and the leftover fabric pieces from her quilt to make this little one, so I am limited in my border options. I want it to really be a "make-do" quilt. It is in pretty rough form right now, but I think I like the black edge on the setting triangles. Let me hear your two-cents worth on the border.
I finally got to my "Ramblin' Rose Meets Jamestown" March block. It is the one in the center. I chose some of the lighter valued prints in my "rose" fabric box for this one.

Last week I kept seeing bloggers talk about having preordered "Civil War Legacies" by Carol Hopkins, and how excited they were that it had arrived. I also preordered, but apparently my copy had a harder time getting up the Amazon. It arrived today. What a wonderful book--15 small quilts designed especially to be made using wonderful Civil War reproduction fabrics, for a great vintage look. Well-photographed quilts, clear directions (even arrows for seam pressing--I love that!) and great looking designs make this a book I highly recommend for lovers of small quilts, or vintage quilts.

Finally, how would you like to win the pattern for this quilt?
Just leave a comment on this post. I'll pick a winner on Saturday, around 6 p.m. MDT.
When Julie at Me and My Stitches posted the photo of this from her recent road trip I knew I "needed" the pattern. She took this picture in JJ Stitches in Sun Prairie, WI. I called the store and they said the pattern (which was from a discontinued book and they had permission to reprint the pattern and sell it) was available individually or in a kit. I ordered 1 copy of the pattern and the folks there told me that they preferred I send a check. They put my pattern in the mail even before they received my check. Once they received my check someone sent the pattern again. I called and informed them of the double delivery and they said, "Just keep it." I told them I would share it with my friends on my blog. If you like the colorway in the sample, you may want to print this photo because below you see the colorway on the pattern and at first I didn't recognize it as the same quilt.

Remember to comment if you'd like to be in the drawing for the pattern!
That is all for now. Until next time, Janet O.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Picnic time again!

My second rendition of the Primitive Gatherings Picnic Quilt is a flimsy now. I need to get the backing sewn together and get it to my LAQ next week. I know, I just got a midarm machine and am going to do my own quilting now, but this is a gift quilt and my skills are not up to snuff on full size quilts.
As this has been coming together I have been making more Spring Baskets as leader/enders. I will have 10 when I am finished. I've made mine a little smaller than the pattern.
Yes, I see the error in the top, middle basket. I have more trouble with
baskets than anything else!
 I think 9 of them will go in the above setting and the tenth may find its way into a little quilt that Kathie posted the link to earlier. You can download the free pattern for Baby Basket here.
Many of you are aware that Temecula Quilt Co. posted basket number five and the setting for their Blessings Baskets sew-along on Thursday. I was very anxious to get all of the fifth baskets made for my four versions and get them set, but time has not allowed. I did make the last basket for the batik set and cut the pieces for the setting. Here it is on the design wall. Can't wait to sew it up and get the others made.
As I said in a previous post, the sashing fabric was just a scrap. I had to cut the sashing strips 1/4" narrower than the pattern indicated and then piece the last two strips together lengthwise in order to make it work. It is a busy enough print that I don't think it shows. I'm really happy with how this little quilt is coming together, but I have no clue as to what I will do with it.
 I've been sewing like a madwoman to try and catch up on the Barrister's Block Sow-Along. I was behind by several blocks on the Christmas set. Now I am all caught up there--until Wednesday.

These three are the latest two bonus blocks Randy has gifted to us (on either end) and the center block is one I had made incorrectly the first time around. I had totally missed the fact that there were double 4-patch blocks. I'm still going to use the first one I made--so I guess that means these are all bonus blocks! : )
Look how fun these plaids and stripes are when they all come together!

 I should never have signed on to the SewCalGal Free Motion Quilting Challenge. I am always squeaking in under the wire with my link. And I don't have a very good photo of my quilting. Everything turned out either blurry, washed out, or the quilting didn't show up. I haven't wanted to try out March's challenge on something I liked, so I postponed it as long as possible. Last night I was flipping through this book when I came across this design and it made me think of a table runner I had made years ago and never finished because I wasn't crazy about it.

So I pulled out the runner, bought some greyish purple thread today and started stitching these little tulips with some loops thrown in for good measure. It is really hard to see the stitching. I made lots of mistakes, but I am not extremely unhappy with it. I might even use it. 

Finally (sorry this is so long--I only seem to get around to posting once a week and then there is so much to share), I got my fabric winnings from Doniene's 15th Fabric Giveaway. She is posting a giveaway of a small bundle of fabric the 15th of each month throughout the year. If you link to follow her blog you won't miss any of them.
I'd better save the rest for later. I need to get this linked to the FMQ challenge before I turn into a pumpkin.
Until next time,
Janet O.

p.s. Happy April Fool's Day, and happy birthday, Chris! I actually have the pattern and fabric gathered for your gift! : )