Thursday, June 28, 2012

In All Its Glory

Here it is--Tumbling Glory, quilted and hung before the actual holiday for which it is intended. That doesn't happen often at my house. I usually have to tell myself I am just getting a jump on next year's holiday because I don't finish things in time.

After making the little patriotic table topper DD#2 bought at the reunion auction, this is what came of the scraps from its creation. It is about 10" square, which means that the center star is 2" and the 4-patch units finish at 1". It is all quilted (Gidget has been busy) and just needs a binding, which I think I will do in blue.

Last post I showed you everything cut to make Cheri's little "Puss In The Corner" quilt. It is so named not because it is made with the traditional block by the same name, but because it has a cat appliqued in the corner. Since applique and I are not on good terms (we haven't spoken in years), mine has a tiny pieced house and I thought I'd call it "House on the Corner". I also made it narrower and longer to be a table runner. This is not sewn together--just laid out on a design board, and it looks like the photo turned out a bit blurry. I'm still trying to decide if I like the house in there or not. It may remain unsewn ( if that isn't a word, it should be) while I ponder. Cheri said she didn't duplicate fabrics in hers. I did duplicate and as I look at the photo I see fabrics "too close to each other". I wasn't going to let that bother me on this piece--I was just going to let the scraps fall where they may. I.JUST.CAN'T.DO.THAT!! Can you?

Anyone else out there serve as  poll worker for the elections in their area? I spent a long day at the polls Tuesday as the provisional clerk and in 13 hours of voting I helped 7 people cast provisional ballots. Needless to say, I got some handwork done. This piece just needs the border quilted, then it will get its blue lines washed away.
You may recall that it was made with leftovers from the little basket quilt I made with leftovers from a quilt my Mother made. I also started hand quilting that tiny 4 block sampler I made from scraps from the piece I made with Kathie's scraps. If you understood all that, would you explain it to me?

Tomorrow is my monthly "Quilt Club" with my Mom and sisters. Most of the time just Mom and I end up quilting--my sisters will bring a project to work on, but not usually a quilt. I plan to tackle the latest installment of blocks from the Barrister's Sow-Along so that I can be caught up before the next batch are posted. In honor of the coming holiday, I may do these three in R/W/B plaid shirts. 

I only have a couple of days left to get my FMQ Challenge for the month completed and posted. I am running true to form on that, but I really am going to try NOT to be the last one to link up this month.

Until next time,
Janet O.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Little Quilts and Little Kids

I had a family reunion today. We always have an auction to raise money for the family organization fund. Early this week I realized I had nothing to donate to the auction. I decided to do something with a patriotic theme, so I grabbed my R/W/B scrap basket and started playing.  This little quilt above is what came of my play. Everything but the backing and binding came from scraps. It finishes at 14" square.
Oh, I struggled with the quilting. Sat up late unpicking a couple of nights ago. I ended up using a "Terry Twist" stencil in the striped blocks. I purchased it from Sally Terry at the HMQS last month. I did some chained pumpkin seeds and some arcs and loops in the star blocks. I would like it more if the quilting was more precise, but I still like it. 
DD#2 bought it at the auction. Speaking of whom, tonight I finally got the binding on this little runner that is a very late birthday gift for DD#2. This is an adaptation of one of Lori Smith's Fit to Frame patterns that I had made for myself last year. I still haven't quilted mine, but at least now I will know what works when I get to it.

Are you familiar with the quiltsbycheri blog? I haven't made any of Cheri's little monthly QALs (though I think they are so cute), but this week when she mentioned a little mystery quilt that she would be doing and listed what was needed, I realized I already had most of the 4-patch blocks. So I pulled out my repro scrap basket and cut the rest of what was on the list. You may recall that I don't do mysteries, but I've already seen the finish before doing any stitching, so it isn't a mystery, really. Do you like my rationalization? Cheri posted the finish tonight. It is a cute little Puss In The Corner quilt. It will be a fun to stitch up.

I shouldn't have started even this little quilt. I am now almost a full three months behind on my Ramblin' Rose Meets Jamestown BOM, I need to get the 3 latest Barrister's Sow-Along blocks made, and I am running true to form on the SewCalGal FMQ Challenge--I may be the last one to link up this month, too. That doesn't even take into account all of the projects that are at some state of semi-completion, awaiting finishes. What can I say? I am smitten by minis (thanks Kathie and Dawn) and I couldn't resist.

I usually keep my blog content pretty much about quilty stuff, but I want to share something that I witnessed today that I think is so cute. Let me set the scene. This was at the family reunion. Ben, on the left, is my youngest grandchild, who lives with Dravet's Syndrome. This is a seizure disorder that, among other things, has left him with very little verbal language, so he has been learning some signs. Ben just turned three this month. The other little boy is his second cousin, Gideon, who I think is about one. 
Ben was playing in a water toy when he spotted Gideon sitting on the grass just a few feet away. He went over and sat by Gideon, leaning his head on his shoulder (much to Gideon's consternation). 
 Then he sat back and signed "baby"...
  ... and pointed to Gideon.
 That is when Gideon decided he'd had enough, and he was out of there.
This exact scenario played out again just a few minutes later. : )
That's all for now. Until next time,
Janet O.

p.s. A shout-out to my friend, Mary C., for suggesting the name for my HQ Sweet 16 that finally clicked for me. Henceforth she will be known as Gidget. : )

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Plodding Along, and Purging A Lot

Nothing new to share--just slow progress on some WIPs. I finally got this runner quilted and bound. It isn't perfect, but I am pleased with how it turned out. Come and get it, Chris! Really, I'll bring it to you, but  I don't have your new address, so please email it to me. : )
Next I quilted this.

I started the quilting on both of these table runners on my DSM to do some stitch-in-the-ditch quilting first. Then I switched over to my Sweet 16 (still nameless) to do the FMQ. I admit--I am a perfectionist and I want my quilting to be flawless, which it isn't. So I am always a little disappointed in my work, but when I look at what I could do (or maybe "couldn't do" would be more appropriate) 8 months ago, I am surprised I can do as much as I can now. I never thought I would get the hang of this, but it is coming.
This one had more blue pen markings so I wet it down and now have it pinned to my sewing room floor to hold its shape while it dries. Do you ever do that? I am concerned that I hadn't thought to get all of the chalk pencil markings off first, so I hope they are still easy to remove when it dries

Then I am also plodding along doing some hand quilting to finish this.

I haven't done any hand quilting in about 4 years. I had forgotten how pleasant it can be. But, as with most hand work, I am very slow and even this little thing could take me forever. Then I get impatient and it takes the joy out of it.

On to the purging--I think this was spawned by a hunt for my strings to send to Julie K. As I corralled them into one place I realized how much fabric I had tucked in nooks and crannies that I had completely forgotten. Some of it was cheap (okay for crafts, but not quilts), some of it was ugly, and some of it just isn't my style.
From what I've seen on other blogs, my stash is not large by any means. Well, now it is even less large. : )  I filled an orange box and three grocery bags and later I dropped it all off at a local thrift store.
I did get all of my small cuts of reproduction prints organized by color in this little set of drawers.
All of the repro yardage is in a larger drawer. The shelves hold my generic stash. Wow, those shelves look empty to me now, but I feel really good about the "purge". There is another, narrower shelf unit for my neutrals, and backing pieces. I still have a chest of drawers full of seasonal fabrics, batiks, novelties, and a few "collections". Then there is the cabinet crammed with containers that house WIPs.

I went to three of the shops on a local shop hop this past week. One of them had all of their FQ for $2. This wasn't one of those times when you can get a good deal on FQs, but they just don't happen to have many on their shelves. They were well-stocked, and would even cut one for you if they didn't have a pre-cut. I walked out with 20 of them. It was a good thing that I wasn't going to any more shops!

Well, that should do it--nothing more to share, except maybe this photo I took from my kitchen window this evening. Our valley is surrounded by mountains on three sides, but to the north the mountains fade into the landscape. This is taken looking almost due north.
Until next time,
Janet O.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Thriftiness X 3

 Thriftiness #1: I completed the latest three of the Barrister's Sow-Along blocks in my plaids from thrift store shirts. Usually I only catch up the day before Randy posts new blocks, so it feels good to have a little breathing room this time.
You can click here to see all of the blocks made to this point.

 I made these two patterns again using Christmas fabric.

Thriftiness #2: And remember this little quilt from the last post made from Kathie's trimmings from a recent top she made of 9-patches on point? I know I said I was only going to add muslin, but I just needed one more inch of green to make it work. Once I started sewing the HST together to make the sawtooth strips, they weren't going to be long enough, so I had to sprinkle in red HST to make it work. But I was just shy that one inch of green to make enough green HSTs to alternate with the reds. So one of the green HSTs is actually pieced together with a bit of green from my stash. Can you see it?  (The green you see in the lower left corner is what I was auditioning for the binding.)
This measures about 15x20".  DD#2 refers to this as my
"Cheddar Challenge" and I think the name will stick!
Thriftiness #3: Then I couldn't resist scooping up the leftover bits--picking out any seams that were left in the scraps and seeing what I could make out of them. This little four square sampler was the result. I had to add the muslin, six 1" red squares and the green from my stash.  The green was busier than I would have liked, but it maintained the brighter feel of the green Kathie had used, and I wanted to try and sustain that look. When this was made there were just trimmed off slivers and points remaining from the scraps Kathie had sent. I used it all and it was fun! I think I will call this little thing "Making the Best of It".
This is 7" square and each of the four little blocks
 finishes at 2 1/2 inches! Those are 1/2" finished squares
in that 25 patch!
All of this "being thrifty" has consumed what little sewing time I have had lately. I've now fallen behind by two blocks on my "Ramblin' Rose Meets Jamestown" BOM. That will be my next piecing goal. I am also getting some table runners quilted (and one of these days I will be brave enough to tackle a full bed quilt), so hopefully there will be a couple of finishes to show in my next post--but don't hold your breath.
Until then,
Janet O.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Here we go again!

Before I get to the part that explains the title, I want to show you something fun. Do you recall when Kathie posted about her cheddar/red/green quilt with the blocks set on point? She was just trimming off the points on the edges of the quilt and was through with them. When she offered to send them my way, I was thrilled for the chance to play with them.
They were in my mailbox when we returned home from my Aunt's funeral. It was nice to have something fun to finish an emotional day. I told myself I could only add muslin to create whatever I could with them. I love a "make do" challenge.
This is the little quilt I created with the cuttings. It is still in the design stage.
The green triangles will be sewn to muslin triangles (right now the design wall is providing the neutral color) after I get them cut to a uniform size. I have all of the other pieces sewn into strips, but the strips are not sewn to each other yet. When I get those sawtooth strips made I will get it all sewn up.
This is how it all began.
I have enough trimmings left for a mug rug or two. How did I do, Kathie?
Now for the "here we go again". I am posting my SewCalGal FMQ challenge for the month just minutes before the deadline. It remains to be seen if I am the very last one to post this month, but I have been for the past three months in a row. I'm not too proud of what that says about me.
This month's expert was Leah Day, whose blog I read regularly. Our challenge was to do a couple of 8" squares using two similar, yet different, foundational designs--Double Stippling, and Railroad Tracks.
When I began learning FMQ the flowing, rounded designs were the most difficult for me and straight line designs (like stars) were much easier. I found the reverse true on this challenge.
Double Stippling was much easier to me this time than the angled Railroad Tracks.
I have strategically placed the double stippled sample to overlap the worst corner of the railroad tracks sample. : )
I have been working on the machine quilting of Chris' tablerunner. I have been doing all of the "stitch in the ditch" a la Karen McTavish whenever I've had a minute the last couple of days. Tonight I did the first block with a stenciled design. I practiced it 4 times before actually stitching on the runner. I think I have found the very slow speed setting that allows me to stay within a reasonable distance of the stenciled line.
It may take me forever to quilt 7 more of these blocks and then do the border, but at least I will be happy with it when I am finished. You can see the blue lines where I planned on adding more quilting to the block, but now that I have outlined the churn dash and quilted the center, I don't know if I want to add that outer design.

Last year at this time I was a new blogger. In one of my early posts I shared photos of the snowmen we built on family graves on Memorial Day. This year the snow behaved itself. It stayed in the tops of the mountains and we were able to enjoy a beautiful holiday visiting family graves without freezing.

Well, I'd better get this linked up to SewCalGal's post. The minutes left until midnight on the west coast are ticking away! : )
Until next time, 
Janet O.