Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Light In The Window, etc., etc., etc.

This is a pattern from Journey Three of Pam Buda's Prairie Women's Sewing Circle. I have been wanting to make it for a long time, and when I saw her new Old Plum Calico line I knew that was what I had been waiting for. Several of you guessed correctly that I was referring to Pam's new line in my last post--and one of you even guessed the churn dash block!

Pam had sent me some small cuttings of the fabric before it was released to the public, and I started making the churn dash blocks right away. 
She had asked that I not share it until the fabric was available, so I held off posting.
Pam is a proponent of the "make do" philosophy of our prairie fore-mothers, and wrote into the instructions to make 3 "make do" blocks in the 20 that the pattern calls for.

I had decided that I would make as many blocks as the cuttings she had sent would make, no matter how much "making do" I had to do. As it turned out, I was able to squeeze out 13 blocks--five being "make do", and one of those five being extremely "make do". Thirteen is a hard number to put into a quilt, so I settled on 12 blocks, leaving the extreme "make do" block for something else.

When Pam offered a pre-order special on fat eighths and fat quarter bundles of her Old Plum Calico line I didn't hesitate to order a fat eighth bundle (that is a splurge for me). As I was making the blocks I decided to wait until the bundle arrived to make the setting triangles and borders.

The original is in blues and greens. I had decided to replace the blues with purples, and though I love purple and green together, I wanted to use a blue where her green had been. I was hoping for a lighter blue repro, but couldn't find one that clicked for me. I finally settled on this medium blue that is from another one of Pam's lines.

Between the cuttings from Pam and the fat eighth piece I was able to make all of the setting triangles out of the same fabric. When it came to the border I had to make two of them from one fabric and two from another. That is okay with me. I like that look.

I am really happy with my "Light In The Window". Now it goes into my greatly diminished, but still growing "to-be-quilted minis" pile.

I fell behind immediately on my Quilters Madder (SAL at humblequilts blog) project. Spent the past couple of days trying to catch up. As usual, I complicated things.

I made the blocks half the size in the pattern (surprised, right?). It will finish at about 15" x 18".  I also added a row, and I included the HSTs on the two sides as in the inspiration photo Lori shared. 
My seam ripper has kept me company on this project. I have miscalculated many things in adjusting the block sizes, and had to make one whole step over again. There were also a few blocks that I had turned the wrong way and it just looked too busy and crazy to me to leave it that way. 
What I love most about this project is that it contains bits and pieces of fabrics from three special friends I have "met" through blogging.
I have decided that I will put the HSTs on the top and bottom, too. They are in the works.


Speaking of things from friends, Karen (logcabinquilter blog) sent me some "scraps" (I use the term loosely), and included these sweet little applique blocks from a project for which she had lost her steam. I don't do needle-turned applique, but am in awe of those that do. Each of these sweet blocks will receive a border and be made into a little seasonal wall hanging. They are each about 8" square, and I will try to keep them to about 12" finished. Thank you, Karen! What a treasure.

Also, last year I received a box full of Jo Morton patterns from a friend that was dying of cancer. I finally went through them carefully and realized that I should pass the applique patterns to someone that will make good use of them.

If there is a lot of interest I will draw names for the individual books, so if you would like to be included, please indicate in your comment which titles interest you.

Until next time,
Janet O.

Drawing Closed!

Friday, October 14, 2016

What do you think?

Is it possible to label quilts without labeling them? I think so. See these quilts?
View from the loft of 34 of the 43 little quilts finished this year. The other 9 have been gifted.
These are all of the little quilts that I have finished so far this year, that haven't been given away.  I have sewn a label on every single one! I am so good that way.  Where I am not so good is actually writing on the label. This is how the backs of these quilts appear--this is just a sampling.
Lovely and pristine, aren't they? Kind of hate to spoil it by actually writing on them. : )

As I began to gather the quilts from their various resting places around the house, to my horror I discovered that some little quilts I finished LAST year also sported naked labels. Shocking!
How did this happen under my watchful eye? Oh, I remember now. When the last stitch has been taken on the binding, I always tell myself I will fill in the label in a little while--and then I never seem to get to it, unless I am giving it away.

So ALL of these embarrassingly bare quilts (45 of them) were gathered and stacked on the dining room table.

Let the labeling begin!! I have had to spend much time scrolling through my blog to make sure the info I am putting on the labels is correct. Good thing it was all documented somewhere!

I don't worry about having a beautiful label, but I do believe in labeling quilts--eventually. Whew--1/3 of them are done now. I needed a break.

So I turned my attention to some wool work. Poor photo, but it shows that progress has been made.

This is all sewn together and is about 15" x 19" inches right now. Needs borders.

Will put a second border on this. Almost added a cheddar border, but now I'm not sure. I need to audition a few more Fall colors before deciding. This photo shows me I should have used a darker green on the pumpkin stems.

My swap partner in Randy's pincushion swap has finally received the package I sent her, so I can share it with you. I made a boxy-style mini log cabin pincushion for Joy at The Joyful Quilter blog.
I added a package of my handcrafted soap. You can't tell through the packaging, but one soap is a spider (cute, not spooky), and the other one is a web.  Just the things you would want to use for washing up, right?

Randy and I kind of ended up swapping pincushions as well, unofficially. I sent her one with the little quilt swap we just did, and she returned the favor with this little red/white beauty, wrapped lovingly in some strips of fabric that you know will find their way into little quilts. : )


I remembered to get a photo of my "80 minutes a week" challenge project before it was all gone. Another success! Gluten Free Orange Pecan bread. Yum!! (Actually, the recipe is for Orange Walnut Bread, but I am allergic to walnuts.)

Something is in the works that I hope to share soon. It involves a newly released fabric line in my favorite color, and one of my most favorite quilt blocks.

Until next time,
Janet O.


Friday, October 7, 2016

Closure on a swap, a test, and a quest

I participated in Randy's (barristersblock blog) pincushion swap and I received mine today. I was gobsmacked! Look at this beauty made by Kevin (kevinthequilter blog! And the back is a gorgeous solid cheddar. The photo doesn't begin to do it justice!
Kevin had emailed and asked me about my favorite colors, etc. I told him I loved CW repros and purple was my favorite color. I liked to combine it with gold/cheddar, and I would often throw some black in, too. He already seemed to know that I dabble in minis.
Did he nail it or what? I couldn't be more thrilled! It has taken up residence right by my sewing machine and has already been put to use. Makes me smile every time I see it. : )
This brings closure to my first ever group swap, and it was a grand success on my end of things. I hope the one I sent has been received.

My fusible test turned out to be a much bigger venture than I had anticipated. Rather than bore you with a long, wordy post here, I placed it as a tab under my header. If you are interested in the results, you can read it on the "Fusible Review" tab.

I will share with you all of the projects that came about as I tested the fusibles.

 This little piece is a "Front Porch Quilts" design.

                                                                                        It finishes at about 3"x7".

One of the Buttermilk Basin "Banners Through The Year" series. The pattern recommended an orange border, and I love orange. But when I was auditioning fabrics, this older Sandy Gervais print just begged to be chosen.

This is another Buttermilk Basin pattern. It will be a pillow for bowl filling. It is smaller than it looks. : )

Another Buttermilk Basin design that will be another little bowl filler pillow.  

I have three of the four blocks stitched down on this Buttermilk Basin pattern. (Can you tell I have taken a few classes from Stacy? I sure have a stash of her patterns!)

I saved the most involved block of this pattern for last. Don't know if that was the smartest move I could have made. I'm really hoping to have this ready for the holiday next month. 

This is an adaptation of a pattern by Bird in The Hand Primitives. I wanted something that would fit on this piece of wool, so I consolidated it a bit. There isn't any stitching on this yet, but I believe it will really come to life when that is completed.

As for closure on a quest, some of you know that over 1 1/2 years ago I was diagnosed with celiac disease. This was quite a blow. I loved to bake.

My first attempts at gluten free baking were dismal. I lost my baking mojo and for months at a time I would do no baking. Gradually I started to assemble a very small arsenal of recipes that were tolerable, but as someone who used to volunteer to provide baked goods whenever they were needed, I now avoided having to share the gritty, starchy products from my kitchen. Oh, to have a really good chocolate chip cookie again!
This is a shelf in my fridge.
Well, I have accepted Nancy's challenge to spend 80  minutes a week learning a new skill or working on a goal. I have gathered my courage and my gluten free flours and tackled a few recipes that have been taunting me, and I finally did it!!! 
I have finally made a gluten free chocolate chip cookie that doesn't taste like it is gluten free! No gritty texture, no starchy aftertaste, and it is soft and chewy, like a chocolate chip cookie should be!

I was elated! I finally had to freeze the rest of them because I was going to consume the whole batch if I didn't. It had been almost two years since I'd had a good chocolate chip cookie. 

And on that sweet note, I will close--
Until next time,
Janet O.