Thursday, February 28, 2013

Temecula's Rothermel 25th Anniversary SAL quilt, sort of

I tried to follow Temecula's SAL directions all the way to the end, but I just couldn't make it work for me. So, with my apologies to them, this is the resulting flimsy.
Most of my CW stash is in the form of FQs. I tried to find fabrics to make the long vertical pieces in between rows, but from my limited CW yardage, nothing emerged that clicked for me. My default setting is sashing and cornerstones, so that is where this went. The outer border fabric is a Judie Rothermel design. I didn't have enough of her fabrics to make the whole quilt, but I thought I could at least surround the blocks with one of her designs. This isn't the best looking border I could have put on this piece, but it is the best of the two "Judie" fabrics that I had in large enough quantity to cover the territory. This was a fun SAL. The blocks made up quickly and the quilt is a little larger than most mini quilts.

 I don't know if you recall this little quilt that was a New Year's project on the quiltsbycheri blog, she called "Counting Down the Hours." I thought the little hourglass blocks were a clever idea for the new year. I made them from a French General charm pack that was gifted to me by Kris. On Tuesday, after having a delightful lunch in town with Kris the day before, I decided it was about time I quilted this up. I used the Sally Terry Twist stencil for the blocks and then called upon my SewCalGal FMQ Challenge experience to feather the border. Patsy Thompson's excellent December tutorial gave me the courage I needed to attempt this. On the first photo you can see the line I drew (using a bendable ruler as guide) to create the spine of the feathers. No, the feathers aren't perfect--far from it, but they are coming along. On the back side you can see the overall effect.

I have also played with another design of Patsy Thompson's that I want to use in a quilt sometime soon. I really enjoy quilting this one. It is on her website in her free downloadable designs, and you can buy the DVD where she demonstrates this one and many others.

'Gathering Patches" is the current SAL on quiltsbycheri blog. She is making three mini quilts from nine patches. I opted to only make the first two, which she has now posted. I followed the directions for the first one, but when it came to the border, mine just didn't look put together right. I know there isn't a "right" way, but I should like it, shouldn't I? So this is my flimsy--just added a narrow border before the outer one. So many of my fabrics were dark. Just thought it needed a bit of something to lighten it.
Don't cringe, but I think I will bind it with a red that came from my Homestead Hearth scrap bag. I have the second little "Gathering Patches" quilt on a design board, ready to sew together. I'll save that for another time, because I want to show you this...

I played in Kool Aid with my wool again on Wednesday. It is so fun! I left some of them bright for now (though the camera flash makes them appear brighter than they really are). Who knows, I might actually use some of it that way, but I really like creating a color and then making it "muddy" for a vintage look. Now I need to get busy and use it!

 I have made some progress (quite minimal) on Easy Street, and have almost finished hand quilting  Abundance. By next time I hope to have my Rancher's Daughter QAL blocks ready to link up with John'aLee at The Scrappy Appleyard.
So much fun stuff going on! : )
Janet O.

Friday, February 22, 2013

SAL Times Three!

I have the blocks for row 3 of the Temecula SAL all made.
Row 4 blocks are cut and on design boards awaiting stitching. By the time you read this I'm guessing they will have posted row 5.
I've sewn up a handful of little 9-patch blocks for the SAL Cheri will be posting next week. She says there will be three little quilts, using a total of 52 9-patches. I only plan on doing the two smaller quilts, so I didn't do that many. I do have my limits (yeah, right).
My Simply Charming Every Other Month Mini Sew-Along quilt is finally quilted. 
It just needs the binding stitched down by hand and I have bartered with a neighbor to do that for me on a couple of little quilts. I'll be dropping it off to her tomorrow and picking up another one she just finished.
Lately I have been repurposing wool clothing from thrift stores, getting ready to do more wool applique. Thanks to advice from my friend, Gayle (whom I have yet to meet, though we are less than 1 1/2 hours away from each other), I have had wonderful success felting and then dyeing some of the wool with Kool Aid. Wednesday I had three large stock pots on the stove, each with a different color of Kool Aid, and I felt like a mad scientist, or a wicked witch stirring my cauldrons. : )
This shows you some of my results. On the right are the original wool colors and left of them you see the results after a Kool Aid bath. Sometimes I am just trying to muddy a "too bright" color and others I am trying to change completely.
I brought home another bag of thrift store wool today and a fresh supply of Kool Aid. Can't wait to try some new color combinations. I also need to get prepping the wool for the first little project I want to try. I've done two snowmen blocks from my class with Lisa Bongean. Now I want to make the little pattern we were gifted at the dinner/trunk show, but I needed some navy blue wool. Took care of that today, so other than a million other projects in line ahead of it, and no time to get to it, I have no excuse for not getting started.

I want to show you something in my sewing room. This Bernina is about 60 years old. It was my Mother's machine and the one on which I learned to sew. Mom made most of my clothes on it when I was little and I made most of my clothing on it when I was in high school. About 10 years ago Mom got a new machine and wondered if anyone wanted this one. I jumped at the chance. It runs just fine, but I haven't had a place to put it in its cabinet until recent changes in my sewing room, which I will save for another post. See the pretty spool pin doily on it? That was a sweet little Valentine surprise from my friend Mary (who lives two states away, but I have met her).

And just in case you think it is "Springtime In The Rockies," this is the view from my house this week, with three more storms in the 7 day forecast.
Stitch on,
Janet O.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Always running behind!

I've "joined" way too many SAL/QAL programs and I'm not keeping up. Can anyone relate? Or, more to the point, can anyone not relate?
Valentine's Day is past, but I just got my two Valentine colored minis to flimsy stage, so I thought I would share them anyway. This first one is for the Simply Charming Every Other Month Mini SAL. How's that for a mouthful? : )
I decided to start with the first one in the book and do it in Valentine colors. At least I had the top finished within the designated month, but it isn't quilted and wasn't ready for the holiday. Oh, well.
I used it on my dining table on the big day anyway.
When I made this, I had cut plenty of little squares from my red/pink/cream fabrics. I was playing with a way to use up the leftovers when I came across something on Kathleen Tracy's blog that gave me an idea. She'd made a little runner using Valentine colored 9-patches on point. I didn't want a runner, but I took the 9-patch idea and ran with it. I found this great French General red print for the setting triangles and border

I'd like to get these two little pieces quilted up before I put them away for another year. So I spent a few minutes trying ideas on Gidget. On the top is the pattern I think I will put on the "Charming" quilt.
I'm not sure about what to do in the other parts of the second little quilt, but those setting triangles are crying out for me to try my hand at filling that shape with feathers.

Next up for "lagging behind" projects is the Temecula Judie Rothermel 25th Anniversary SAL. Friday they posted row 4 of 5. Saturday I stitched up row 2 and cut out row 3 (yet to be sewn stars). They are supposed to be sewn together into rows with sashing, but I can't decide on a sashing fabric. I'm not buying anything for this and I can't find one that clicks for me in my stash--but I haven't finished combing through it. I'm sure something will come up. It has been fun to use a couple of charm packs of some favorite lines and also to dig into my Homestead Hearth scrap bag to make these blocks. I'm hoping to get rows 3 & 4 finished before 5 is posted this Friday.
You may recall that as I did my Barrister's SAL blocks in thrift store shirt fabrics last year, I was also making a set in Christmas fabrics, to which a couple of blog friends donated their Christmas scraps. I was about 1/3 of the way through the blocks when I decided I just couldn't keep up with both sets. The Christmas blocks got set aside.
This year I have decided to join John'aLee in her Rancher's Daughter SAL. She is posting 1 block a week, along with stories about growing up as a rancher's daughter. I already have 24 blocks made from last year's SAL, and I will need 49 blocks to make the throw size quilt I have planned. So my plan is to choose two of the blocks each month to make up and add to my pile.
These are the first two blocks for January. I realize I may get some duplicate blocks, but I don't think it will matter--especially if I switch up the fabric value placement. I have yet to begin on February's blocks.

Finally, we come to my BOM for the year. I haven't made a single block! I am going to use the Scrap Basket Blocks patterns that Lisa Bongean posts randomly on her blog. There are currently 12 of them, but she says there are more to come. I am making them out of the repurposed shirts you see below. I am anxious to get started on this project, but I really need to make some serious headway on Easy Street before starting another big project.

That is all for now. I am going to start typing gibberish if I don't get to bed right away.
Janet O.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Little bits of progress.

I had hoped to have my Barrister's SAL flimsy finished by now, but it isn't quite there. After sewing on the two originally planned borders, it didn't appear finished to me. So after a couple of trips to the thrift store I found the two burgundy shirts that make the final border. I haven't had a chance to attach that outer border yet, but I am liking what I see.

I did get the outer border sewn on the Pam Buda Orphans and Scraps mini. Purple may not have been everyone's choice, but I liked it best of the 8-10 fabrics I auditioned, and I was tired of trying to find the perfect fabric. So this will do. It will be bound in black. Finished size will be 16" square.

Recently my mailbox yielded this fun surprise from Denise. I was so excited and spent much time perusing them when I should have been doing something else. I have already copied out dozens of pages for the mini foundation patterns. Can you believe all of the paper piecing this girl has been doing lately? Prior to making Julie's Poor Li'l Punky pincushion last fall I was sure I would never paper piece again. But once I had made that cute little thing I was hooked. I still don't love doing it, but I love the results! I can't wait to try some of the teeny patterns I found. Thanks, Denise!

I am way behind on this little SAL, but I finally got my first row of blocks cut for the Temecula SAL currently in the works. They should sew up quickly--if someone else was doing them. : )

And I am trying to keep my promise to myself to practice feathers this year. Just a little time spent yesterday doodling feathers. I am getting more comfortable with the form of the feather. I am determined to get comfortable enough to be able to include them on a quilt wherever I would like.

This lovely pile of wooly fabric is the product of my first attempt at felting wool. With a little encouragement and help from my friend, Gayle, I cut up my thrift store finds and went to work. I am excited to get some of my current projects finished (who am I kidding?) and choose one of Lisa Bongean's patterns to work on.
Thanks for all of your suggestions, Gayle. It worked! Imagine that! : )

Just wanted to show you something that caught my eye the other morning. Those frosty trees in my header have been looking like that every morning for weeks, but a few mornings ago I noticed some black specks in the trees near the end of the row. Could it be? I zoomed in as close as my little "point & shoot" would allow.

Sure enough, there were birds perched among the frosted branches. I guess I'm not the only one who doesn't have a second home in a warmer climate. : )

Stay warm,
Janet O.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Random Objects

When Pam posted the finish for her little Orphans and Scraps SAL I loved the tiny table runner she had made. But the more I thought about it the more I realized I didn't have the perfect place for one of those, like she does. So I ruminated on it a while and came up with this.

Remember that these blocks are only 4" finished. The little sashing 9-patches finish at 1 1/2". I'm still trying to decide if I want to put a colored border all around it. I am leaning that way, but I can't decide on a color.

My Mom's birthday is Groundhog Day, so I was working frantically this past week to finish up the little pineapple ornaments for her. I hung the dozen ornaments on the little tree I had left out in my sewing room, draped it with a cloth and took it to my parents' home. I had Mom close her eyes while I uncovered the tree. She loved them.
As she got closer and looked at each ornament she realized they were made of fabric scraps from her quilts. Then she was thrilled. It was a fun surprise.

As I had been gathering the leftover parts of Mom's quilts that she has given me over the years so that I could make the pineapples, I came across a little baggie of small 9-patch blocks she'd had leftover from a quilt. I cut some setting squares and used them as my leader/enders while I made up a couple more Easy Street blocks. This is what I came up with using those little 9-patch blocks. I haven't sewn the borders on yet, but I am happy with it. Most of the blocks, except the three in the middle, were dark blue or brown and I wanted to brighten it up a little. The only three blocks with color went down the center and a narrow red print border helped balance it out. Brown Moda Essential Dots finish it off. Would you bind it in red?
I had been using Easy Street as my leader/ enders while I sewed this week and my goal was to finish two more blocks, but I don't use leader/enders with paper piecing, so while working on the pineapples, I didn't get very far on those two blocks. That is why I had to just focus on finishing the two blocks, using something else as my leader/enders in the process. Here are all 4 of my E.S. blocks. I still have a long way to go on this one!
The green is much more dominant than I anticipated. I may go heavy on the blue in the borders--if I ever get that far. I should make up some setting triangles and see how it all plays out with the colors. That will have to wait. I've got some catching up to do on my BOM, and I'd really like to get to the Temecula SAL. Not to mention my REAL projects. : )
Until next time,
Janet O.