Sunday, September 28, 2014

Is it really Fall?

I finally took down my patriotic decor after Labor Day, but with daytime highs still lingering in the 80s it has been hard to get in the spirit of decorating for Fall. Haven't been able to bring myself to drag out the boxes of decorations, but I did hang a few little quilty creations.
Autumn Afternoon (approx. 8x10") now has a home on this Shaker peg rack in my kitchen, along with a little Fall colored basket ornament that turned out a little too wonky to be gifted or sold, so I get to keep it!

I also got the Halloween "Lamb For All Seasons" (adapted from Primitive Gatherings Old Glory Gatherings pattern here) completed and hung (12" square). It is the first thing you see when you enter our living room. Can you even tell there is a crow on the lamb's back? With the dark green background I don't think it is very obvious. The photo makes the whole thing look brighter than it really is.

On Tuesday I signed up to take a class from Kim Diehl on Friday, but it turns out the class isn't until next month, but that is a whole 'nother story!! But it got me thinking about my favorite Kim Diehl patterns, one of which is "All In A Row". I love churn dash blocks, and there is just something about this version that grabs me. I have made a table runner in this style, but never the full quilt. Do you know what is coming next? Could I miniaturize it? Well, you know I have to try.
 The blocks will finish at 1 3/4". The 9-patch centers are 3/4". I think I will sash it with the fabric they are laying on, but I haven't chosen a cornerstone fabric yet.

I prepared a couple of them to be ornaments, trying out a pinwheel in the center of one, instead of the 9-patch. I haven't yet stuffed and backed them, but they will be about 1/4" smaller than my pineapple, log cabin, or basket ornaments.

The structure of the churn dash on these blocks is different from the ones in the Disappearing Hourglass. The DH block is divided into three equal sections, so on the bottom one in this photo I tried the DH method. Raewyn threw down the gauntlet when she made a little Disappearing Hourglass block that was only 1 3/8". But I didn't even try to go that small, let alone smaller. This one will finish at about 1 5/8", a whole quarter inch larger than Raewyn's! See, I do make big stuff! : )

There are a bunch of these little 9-patch blocks left from making the centers for those blocks. I have a plan for them that I hope will work. More to come on that.

Kathie Holland (Inspired By Antique Quilts blog) makes the greatest little quilts. Well, she does great bed quilts, too, for that matter. I am so glad she is back blogging. I really missed her.
Recently she posted a sweet little pinwheel quilt which you can see on her blog here.
She sent me a little kit to make my own copy of it. I'm sorry, Kathie, but after making the HSTs I got carried away and cut two small HSTs from each large one. Now, instead of 6 4" finished pinwheels, there will be 12 one and a half inch finished pinwheels. I just get started cutting things down to size and I don't know when to stop. But I am loving these vibrant reds and bold blacks. And what a great border fabric. Thanks, Kathie. I hope you don't mind me messing with your design. I have really enjoyed working on this and hope to have it finished soon.

This beautiful little quilt arrived this month from Doniene. She really has me pegged where color and design are concerned. It went right up in my "Quilts from friends" corner. There was a beautiful scarf that she had made that came, too, but I just realized I didn't have a photo of it.
Such sweet gifts from a generous friend. Thank you!

Well, I am still woefully behind on my UFOs for the year. That mini trunk show in May really derailed me and I am having a hard time getting back on track. My Garden Maze Quilt still languishes on my design wall because I can't find a border fabric I like, so I distract myself with minis. I am a sorry case!

Just thought of how I can tell it really is Fall. Dad's pears are ripe and we enjoyed a lovely pear pie recently. Yummm! I shared the recipe a couple of years ago, but if you missed it and are interested, let me know and I will email it to you.

Until next time,
Janet O.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Quilting at the Castle with Jenny Doan (Warning--LONG post, lots of photos!)

This is the place--an event venue in our valley called "The Castle" (okay, technically it is named Castle Manor, but we just refer to it as The Castle).  My Girlfriend's Quilt Shoppe brought Jenny Doan of  Missouri Star Quilt Company to town and sponsored a 2 day event here.
On Friday there were two half day workshops where we were taught the finer points of the Disappearing Hourglass. There were 50-60 women in each session and I was in the evening group.

This is Jenny's Disappearing Hourglass quilt. It is very pretty and I was glad to try out this pattern.

These are the blocks I got finished. Some women made more, some made less. It all depended on how well you could focus in a room full of chatting quilters!

Jenny is just as genuine and friendly in person as she seems in her tutorials. I observed over the two
days that she never appeared weary of the endless signing of books, bags and anything else that would accept a Sharpie Marker. She never seemed impatient to be done and always responded with kindness to each request. She has a perpetual smile, a ready laugh, and an endless supply of entertaining stories.
Sarah, Jenny, Me, Natalie

Her daughters are cut from the same cloth, and were a delightful addition to the experience.
None of them ever complained about the endless photos they were asked to pose for--many of them by me.
These are talented, gracious women who are involved in a business that I can't even begin to comprehend--brick and mortar stores, a website, online tutorials, magazines, email newsletters, etc. My head swims at the thought of keeping all of that going, but they do it with a smile--and travel besides.

Saturday morning we were greeted by shop owner Kris (on the left), and her twin sister Kim (of Kimberbell Designs), two more remarkable women. Aren't they cute? They are pretty sweet, too. And if you can't tell them apart, they will each answer to the other's name, so you won't feel stupid. : )

Well over 300 women were there to enjoy the trunk show, lunch, and workshops. This is looking down from the mezzanine at just a part of the crowd.

The shop had put out a call a couple of weeks before the event, asking for quilts made from Jenny's patterns, to be on display. They were draped all around the railings on the mezzanine level. This is also where the shopping area was set up, and Jenny's daughters were demoing some products. So you could shop, enjoy the quilt show, and catch the demos. Doesn't it look fun? I made the loop several times!
Yes,  that is a Primitive Gatherings quilt on the railing at the right side of the photo. They had kits available for it in the shop, so it was on display. It is a gorgeous quilt named "Words to Live By",  I believe.
Here you can see my little Disappearing Pinwheel Part 2 quilt in the display.
I got my little quilt finished just in time to be turned in late. Does that make any sense? They asked for the quilts to be in by Tuesday, but I had just started it Monday. I called and was told that they could take it as late as Thursday night. As I walked in the store that evening to turn it in, I was surprised to see Jenny, Natalie and Sarah sitting there, visiting. Jenny had Sarah take this shot of us with the quilt.

Of course, I had to make some ornaments, but you probably already knew that. I reduced the 3" churndash/pinwheel blocks a little more and these ended up 2 1/4", before the borders. So the finished ornaments are 2 3/4"--just a little larger than I usually make, but I wasn't sure I could go smaller with the pinwheels. Now I want to see if I can.
I labeled the backs with the name of the event and date and gave one to Jenny and one to each daughter (didn't get a photo of the last one).

The trunk show was delightful. We saw a lovely collection of quilts, were taught with some "in person" tutorials, were entertained with funny happenings (like when she broke her leg making her first video for her shop--well, maybe that isn't funny, but it was the way she told it), and moved by stories of the people who have written with their thanks for what they have been able to learn and accomplish without ever leaving their homes. These letters have come from new quilters that don't know where to learn what they need to know, young mothers who can't get out to shops easily, people with handicaps who really cannot leave home, even a woman in a war torn country who said Jenny had added color to her life.

 We laughed, oohed and aaahed--and some even cried, as Jenny kept us hanging on every word.

In the afternoon we rotated through 5 stations. We did a service project for breast cancer awareness, had a chance to try the new Baby Lock embroidery machines while working on a cute Christmas mug rug from new Kimberbell software, had a class on Christmas gift ideas to sew, had time to shop and watch demos, and attended a meet and greet in the outdoor gazebo where Jenny continued to sign anything and everything, and we were able to get even more photos taken.

My daughter, Aimee, Jenny, and me, in the gazebo.
After we finished at The Castle, My Girlfriend's Quilt Shoppe was opened up for us to shop, have refreshments, win door prizes and visit one last time with Jenny and her daughters.

 It was an amazing weekend, made possible by some amazing people--the shop owners, Kris and Mike Thurgood, their incredible staff, Jenny, and her daughters.
Jenny, Kris, Sarah, Natalie

I am glad that I got to share Saturday with DD#2 and I wish DD#1 could have joined us, but NH is a long way from Utah.
Until next time,
Janet O.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I wondered--

...should you attend a retreat with Jenny Doan if you have never tried one of the tips or tricks in her videos? I didn't think so.
I have loved the Disappearing Pinwheel Part 2 that I have seen on a few blogs. Mary's (Quilt Hollow blog) version has been my very favorite. So taking my cue from her, I made mine in repros, I made it smaller, and I switched the center pinwheels around to make it look more scrappy, as she did.
The blocks are 3"finished, so the pinwheels are 1". If you look closely, you can see that there is a good deal of wonkiness to these little churn dash blocks. Lots of points went missing in action.

It is not an easy block to make smaller. I decided not to use Jenny's method for making the HSTs. Those bias edges could be so hard to deal with at this scale. As it was, just the process of cutting the pinwheel up (like the lines on a tic-tac-toe board), was a challenge. 
 As you have to keep lifting and moving the ruler, the fabric pieces shift ever so slightly, and that has to be fixed before you can make the next cut. The second two cuts are the hardest to keep straight. No matter how carefully I tried, once my pinwheel block was cut into 9 pieces, they were not all the same size. On a large block you have some wiggle room--you can be 1/8th inch off and it still works. But that much difference throws a block this small into a tizzy. But overall, I am happy with this little quilt.

Got the little Fall colored mini mostly quilted. Haven't done anything in the border yet. The rust colored fabrics behind it are the backing on the right and the binding on the left. As I look at it here, maybe I should bind it with the backing fabric.
The little blocks are 3/4". It makes me think of the golden glow of late afternoon in the fall, so I think I will call it Autumn Afternoon.

Got the binding done on the Civil War Churn Dash baby quilt made from the block swap I did last year with Maureen (Pursuit of Quilts blog).

Can you believe it? That's all--I'm finished. : )
Until next time,
Janet O.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Little Finishes Fill the Wall

WooHoo! The yardstick gallery outside my sewing room door is now completed. Another yardstick and three more little quilts have been added. (See the "how to" tab above for the source of this idea, and instructions on how to make your own.)
I love having this to greet me every time I go to my sewing room! : )

These are the three recent finishes, and they all involve batiks.

The  9" square Storm at Sea (which I named "A Little Squall") was a flimsy for my mini trunk show in May. I finally got it quilted. Since I pressed many seams open I couldn't SITD between rows.
But I did SITD around all of the lavender and marine blue pieces. The border is a swirly free motion design.

Terry (of Terry's Treasures blog) hosted a SAL for a quilt called "Goodnight, Irene." Terry didn't want the bonus triangles from her quilt, so I acquired them. I showed the top I made a little while back, but I didn't like my border, so it sat around for a while. I've remodeled it and am much happier with it. The hourglass blocks are 1".
I do a lot of straight line quilting on my minis, and this one was no exception. Here is a shot of the back before I stitched the binding down by hand.

That used most of the HSTs, but there were still a few left, so I put this together.
I started out just putting the pinwheels on point, but then I put the whole block on point, and that gave me a chance to practice feathers in the setting triangles.

And through all of this, I have actually made a little progress on big projects. I am currently binding the churn dash baby quilt (see the bottom of the post in the link), and I have the rows all made for my Garden Maze quilt. Now I need to sew the rows together and put some borders on it. It will be so good to get this done. I know I got the block pattern in 2006, but it was a little while before I started making the blocks. I finished them a couple of years ago, and it is about time they became a quilt!

And while I was making the rows,  I was itching to be sewing with some Fall colors, as I could feel the nip in the air as I sewed at night. So I grabbed some fall colored HSTs left from other projects, and I made a bunch of little blocks as leader/enders. 
When I had used up the HSTs, I trimmed the blocks to a uniform size and then cut some little squares from a beautiful Primitive Gatherings yellow my friend Annie M. sent me a while ago. 
The top is webbed and I am getting the rows sewn together. The little blocks finish at 3/4" and the whole quilt will be just over 5"x7", if I don't border it.

I just read back through this and it sounds pretty dry--sorry. But here is some exciting news--next Friday and Saturday I get to attend workshops with Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Co.! Looking forward to that!

Until next time, 
Janet O.