Sunday, September 29, 2013

Bordering on Insanity

Does canning season make anyone else crazy? Boxes and buckets and bushels of ripe produce needing immediate attention, but life doesn't have a "pause" button while we take care of it all. So this week while jams and sauces were put in jars and pies and frozen veggies were crowded into the freezer, all I have had time for in the sewing room is borders!
This was a sampler made from Cheri's blog. It is a little thing--the blocks are about 3 inches. I'd link you to the instructions, but all of the photos are gone from her posts for it. However, she is starting a new fall SAL on Monday, if you want to join in.

Then I got the border on my version of Pam Buda's Nabby's Dowry.
I think I am going to name this Mahana (aka The Eight Cow Wife). Kind of a reverse on the dowry theme in Pam's title, and plays along with the tropical feel of the fabrics I have used. It is from a 1960s movie called Johnny Lingo, that is iconic in Mormon culture. It was based on a short story that appeared in Woman's Day magazine way back when. You can read about it on Wikipedia here, or even find the 30 minute movie on Youtube.

These 4-patch blocks had been getting shuffled around my sewing room for years. I don't even recall when or why they were made, but a few weeks ago I sewed them into this little quilt and this week I bordered it, too--why not? I was on a roll! This one may need tea dying.

I put another round of borders on this little piece that I made from scraps of Old Glory Gatherings recently. I thought it looked okay when I was doing it, but when I saw the photo, I wasn't crazy about it. I was thinking of binding it with a blue stripe cut on bias. Maybe that will help it. Or maybe I will just have to take off that outer border and try again.

The final border project really is insane. As my last project for this year's SewCalGal FMQ Challenge, I am doing Patsy Thompson's border challenge. You have to make a piece that has 8-10 borders for practicing a variety of border designs. It has to be finished by the end of October, and so far all I have done is select fabrics. This is what is piled on my cutting table waiting for inspiration to strike. More batiks!
I will be on the other side of the country for 8 days of October, and probably recovering from that trip for a few more afterward. Something had better come to me soon.

There was a very slight dusting of snow on the mountaintops this week, but whenever I thought about getting a photo they were shrouded in clouds. I love the contrast of white topped mountains when there is still fall color dressing the slopes. There wasn't enough snow this time to provide much contrast. It looked more like someone had sprinkled a little baby powder over the peaks, but I'm sure that will change soon enough.
Until next time,
Janet O.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


My guess on Pam Buda's layout for her Nabby's Dowry QAL was pretty close. In fact, after my last post, I had played with the blocks a little more and had ended up putting that center block where Pam had hers. My other blocks are willy nilly though, because I am trying to get a balance with these bright blocks, if possible. If my design wall could talk it might tell you how dizzy it is getting from the frequency of rotation with these blocks as I play with my options.
Still not sure I've got it right, but I wanted to show you the lovely batik that had just arrived when I was in a LQS Friday. I had already seen Pam's layout, so I knew I needed setting triangles, and I thought this might be just the thing. What do you think? Does it overpower the blocks or compliment them?

I need more black batik for the other two sides, and if I decide to use the new fabric for the setting triangles, I am thinking I may use the new stuff for binding as well. This is very much out of my norm, I know, but I do love playing with the vibrant colors of batiks.

This week I whipped up my next Simply Charming Every Other Month Mini SAL flimsy (I'll link up to the appropriate month when the post becomes available). The green and gold 4-patch blocks were made with leftovers from all of the St. Patrick's Day stuff I made earlier this year. I wanted to use them in the Bits and Pieces pattern in Tara's book, and I wanted to give it a "Fall" feel by using other Fall colors in the sashing. I was searching for a good stripe in my stash, but the cupboards were bare, so I made my own.
Instead of the sashing cut at 3 1/2", I cut two strips at 1 1/2" and the center strips at 1". My sashing is 1/2" narrower than the pattern, but I thought making the brown or orange wider might make either of those colors too dominant. I think after quilting this one it will be bound with the same brown as the sashing.

Gidget and I had some quality time quilting up this little table topper for my sister-in-law. She chose the fabrics to match her kitchen and selected the design from the table toppers I showed her that I have made. She wanted hers a little smaller than my original, so I made this just over a foot square.
 I've never made feathers this small before--kind of challenging, but fun to do. If I could just turn in my eyes for a younger pair I wouldn't need to focus two Ott lights on the quilt when I use matching fabric and thread. Anyone else have that problem?
As I type I am listening to the wind and rain outside my open family room door. It sounds wonderful. Apologies to all those who have been experiencing flooding, but here in Northern Utah we have just endured the hottest summer on record, and in our little valley just below the Idaho border, it has been a very dry summer, too. So as I get ready for bed, I am singing away with Eddie Rabbit, "Well, I love a rainy night." : )

Until next time,
Janet O.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Just a guess... to the possible layout of the Nabby's Dowry blocks from Pam Buda's current SAL.
I know, I know--I wasn't going to do this SAL. But recently, when I pulled out the bag of batik HSTs (from the scrap swap with Sandi) and made the little table topper to go under my new African nativity, I realized what a treasure trove of HSTs I had. So Nabby's Dowry looks a little tropical--and yes, I know I made the block in the lower left corner incorrectly. It is staying that way!

I am almost through making Christmas scrap blocks. You may recall I started these last year with Randy's Barrister's Sow-Along. I kept going with my plaid shirt version, but petered out on the Christmas one. So I picked up again with Johna'Lee's Rancher's Daughter SAL. I just completed a few more.
What is it with lower left blocks? I see my error there, too. That one will be fixed!
I already knew that I wouldn't be doing all of the blocks in this year's SAL. I was just planning on a lap quilt for this set of blocks. So I am one block away from the amount needed. Here is how they all look together.
This is not the final layout, and it is much scrappier than I am accustom to making. I usually control color schemes or undertones. On this I decided to just use scraps and come what may. I'll need to use sashing or setting squares to unify things more. There are scraps from a few blog friends in here and it makes me smile when I look at those blocks.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the sewing room. My little tree is bearing more ornaments (a couple of the ones shown were gifts from friends--they are staying put), as I get more little pineapples made for DD#2 to sell at our local Novemeberfest. I'm also making some little log cabin ornaments this year. What would you say would be a fair price to ask for either of these ornaments? What would you be willing to pay at a gift fair? Or would you just think you could go home and make them? : )
I will be making a bunch more, and DD#1 has made a bunch, too. The proceeds will be going to DD#2's fundraising efforts for Dravet Syndrome research.

I was thinking this would be such a short post today, but it is longer than anticipated. At least I am consistent. : )
Until next time,
Janet O.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

So many little quilts! (and an AAQI update)

The blocks from my summer swap with Maureen are all sewn together now. I just need to attach those borders and this baby quilt will be ready to baste and quilt. After quilting it will be about 42" square. I am loving this! Someday I want to make a churn dash quilt for our bed!
I tried so hard to just be random in the block placement and not over think the spacing of colors and values. Looking at the photo now I see things I would have moved if I had studied it harder, but this is for DD#1 and she does random very well. I was trying to think like her and not stress over it. How did I do, Angie? : )

The braid table topper from men's shirts is quilted, the binding is on one side and clipped down, ready to sew by hand on the other side. Not the best photo, but you can get an idea of the quilting. I put cables down the braids and did straight line quilting in the ditch and on the side of each lengthwise seam.
I had lots of strips left over after making this, so I used them as leader/enders while sewing other projects and did a quick stipple quilting job on it to come up with this. Don't know what I am going to do with it, but it came together very quickly.

On the feather front, I did one more hyper-quilted feather piece. I've learned that I prefer a lighter colored fabric with a thread color on the original feather a little darker. On this dark piece the original feather melts into the background and all you can see is the hyper-quilting. It is a deeper color than it appears here. I had to put a bright light across the surface to give a better view of the quilting.

DH and I have dear friends who just returned from serving as humanitarian missionaries in Ghana, Africa. They brought us this beautiful hand carved nativity and I felt it deserved a special table topper all its own. Last year I swapped scraps with Sandi (kwiltnkats blog) and I ended up with lots of batiks--including a bag of HSTs. I've already used a bunch to make two little quilts. This time I separated all of the brown/black ones to make this topper.
Can you tell that this nativity includes a brahma, a small giraffe, and a couple of baby elephants? We're talkin' Africa here!

Finally (I know, that is what you are thinking, too, right?), I was in communication with Ami Simms this morning and apparently my last two AAQI quilts were on the "For Sale" page by mistake--that is why they didn't have prices or "Add to Cart" buttons. They will be going with the other quilts selected for the Houston International Quilt Festival, though they are not listed on that page yet. If you will be at the Festival, stop by the AAQI booth and select from the hundreds of quilts that will be available for sale.
And Flowers for Market is still available.  Sold--Thank You!

Until next time,
Janet O.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

AAQI Quilts Available now!

My four little AAQI quilts have been moved to the "For Sale" page. As of this writing, the last two do not have their prices assigned yet, but if you check back on the link I imagine they will be priced soon, or they wouldn't have moved them to the page.
Please consider buying a quilt, if you can, to support this cause. There are so many on the "For Sale" page right now that I'd like to buy. I need to wait for another payday.
If you purchase one of mine, I would appreciate you letting me know. I'd like to know where they found homes. : )
Janet O.


Since posting I have been informed that the two quilts shown below were on the "For Sale" page by mistake. They have since been removed, and I am told they will be with the group of quilts taken to Houston to be sold there. Sorry. I know there were several of you interested in the patriotic one.