Sunday, April 30, 2017

Variations on a theme of Log Cabins

Classical music fans may recognize my play on the name of this little quilt. This is what I made for Randy (barristersblock blog) for our April swap. She received it this weekend, so I can share it with you now. And since it is basically all I have sewn lately that you haven't already seen a few times, this is all I have to share.
This time around I chose the fabric we would use (we could add anything else we wanted to, but I sent her half of some jelly roll strips from Barbara Brackman's Richmond Reds line, and that was our base). Randy suggested the theme of Log Cabins, or any variation of them, and we decided to stick with the 12" size. I haven't received mine from Randy yet, but she tells me she has used her own variation of those guidelines. Can't wait to see. : )

Each of the blocks I made was taken from this book. I scanned and reduced until I had them the size I wanted. Then I printed them on newsprint and foundation pieced the blocks.

This shows the back of the top, pre-paper removal. The blocks finished at around 3", I believe.


The quilting was all stitch-in-the-ditch. With blocks this small and busy, I felt like more than that would look out of place.

Thanks for playing along, Randy! I enjoyed the challenge. : )
Now I look forward to May, when I have a little quilt swap lined up with another blog friend.
Until next time,
Janet O.

Friday, April 21, 2017

From My Mother's Scraps--Part II

Lately I've been working on documenting Mom's quilts. So I thought this would be a good time to share more of the projects I have made (or have in the works) from the scraps she has passed on to me over the years from the quilts she has made. You can find part one here.
I will show my project first and then will follow with Mom's quilt that begat it. : )

When I recently found projects hiding in my sewing room closet, the brown/cream HSTs for these baskets were among them. They were leftover from one of Mom's few tied quilts. It was a quilt Dad had seen in a book and liked it, so Mom made it for him.
Don't you hate when this happens?
I'm not sure if this is how it will finish, or if I will add more borders. Right now it would finish just under 12".
Yesterday I sewed up the baskets (which will finish at 5") 
and was about to sash them with a blue plaid from Mom's leftovers, but it wasn't my favorite combination. Then I had the bright idea to use part of Dad's favorite blue plaid shirt. I'm really liking the fact that this is made from leftovers of a quilt Mom made for Dad and fabric from Dad's favorite shirt.

This is a really poor photo of Mom's quilt--and then I made it worse by using a photo of the photo. I'm not sure why, but Mom called this The Cowboy Quilt. She made it just 4 or 5 years ago.
You can see that the stars were made using brown/cream HSTs, and Mom had made a few dozen more than she needed.
When she was choosing the fabrics for this quilt she wasn't pleased with the selection of plaids available locally, so I brought her some of the plaid shirts from my stash. I believe this is the only quilt in which she ever used repurposed shirts.

You have seen this on my design wall recently. It is still hanging out there, but I have sewn a row together now and then. The first three diagonal rows are made. The others are falling off the wall.

This began with the scraps from Mom's one venture into the lovely, flowery world of watercolor quilts. 
This was named "Drink the Living Water". I don't know if that was the name of the pattern, or if she made it up. If you enlarge the photo you may be able to see the stipple quilting--it is all by hand. I can't imagine doing that over all those seams!

I didn't have enough leftovers from the watercolor quilt to get as many blocks as I wanted, so I also incorporated squares from Mom's Postage Stamp-ish quilt. It isn't a true postage stamp quilt if you define that as a quilt with 1" finished squares. The squares in her quilt finished at 1 1/2". Close enough, to me.
I liked the fact that the pastel inner border on this quilt is also made up of little squares.

A few of the blocks in the quilt below were already assembled, but not used in the quilt of Mom's. There was a bunch of leftover squares already cut, too.
I did have to supplement the scraps just a tiny bit to have enough blocks to make a good sized throw quilt. I don't know why I haven't quilted this yet.

(My camera lens appears to have had a smudge when I took this photo years ago.)
I was with Mom in a local quilt shop when she saw a quilt made from this pattern on display. She really liked it and bought the pattern then and there. Mom rarely did that. Most of the quilts she made were from books or magazines she or I owned.

The challenge I have always faced when I incorporate units that Mom had already assembled, is the fact that in all Mom's decades of quilting, she has never owned a 1/4" foot, yet she has always used the edge of her foot as her seam guide, so her seams are always larger than 1/4". Matching the units I make with the units she makes isn't always easy, and the making of the quilt from these leftovers was a challenge, trying to get my blocks the same size as hers.

In Part 1 I shared these little quilts with you. I made these with leftover units from the last quilt my Mom made and gifted them to my daughters. 

 Now I am making one for myself.  I have one more hexie flower and 4 more HSTs, along with several strips of trimmings from the piano key border Mom had assembled, so I could make one more of these little quilts.

The quilting is now farther along than this shows. About all I have left to do are the motifs in the corners.

Mom decided that the quilt she made in 2015 (when she was 85) would be her last. She called it her Happy Quilt. You can see the elements that I used to make the little quilts above.


Mom is a cat lover, and for her birthday about 3 years ago I made this little quilt that I had first seen on another blog. It is foundation pieced, and not as hard as it may look. I used fabrics from 4 different quilts of Mom's to make this little piece. I will only share one of them with you. 
The quilt below is the source of the fabrics in the little quilt at the top of the pile, right beneath the kitty. This is Mom's Kitty Quilt.
 A friend had given her yards of this kitten fabric, and she had to make something with it. I helped her come up with a block that was not quite square, to accommodate the size of the kitten panels. I have a bunch of the kitten fabric left among her "scraps".
There are bags of Mom's scraps I haven't even opened yet, so maybe someday there will be a "Part III".
Most of my sewing lately has been work on swaps I have coming up, and a very minimal effort on quilting "the beast". It really does annoy my shoulder to push that king-size thing around under the needle for very long. But it will eventually get finished--one block every week or two, maybe, but it will get finished!!
Until next time, 
Janet O.

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Finish, a Challenge, and a LOT of blue plaid!

Kim Diehl's Porchside Garden is finished. It currently hangs in my dining room.

The plan had been to hand quilt the center and machine quilt the rest, but hand quilting won out in the end.

It is quilted a little less densely than the first one I made, but it is enough.

Secretly working on a little quilt for a Challenge swap with Randy. We are swapping 12" quilts, like we did last year. The one I am making involves this stuff...

...a book of foundation patterns, a copier, and sheets of newsprint paper. Sounds like there is some  foundation piecing involved (there is).

When I am piecing minis (whether foundation pieced or not), I use lots of pins--the extra fine, glass-headed variety--and I sew over them! Do you sew over pins, or do you always remove them?

I have never had a problem doing this. Yes, I have winged a pin or two, but they have only been slightly bent.
Well, as I have been working on this little piece, I have hit more pins than I can recall doing on any previous project. Look at the results of one such encounter--the pin on the left! Have you ever had that happen?                                                              

In spite of the mishaps, the little top is assembled. Now to remove the papers and get it quilted.

Aside from these projects, I have done a little bit of quilting on the beast, and I have been cutting up Dad's shirts to make a simple quilt for Mom. Can you tell he had a thing for blue plaid shirts?
There are some green ones in there, too, but blue definitely is in the majority!! He had a few favorites that were fraying at the collar and cuffs, and worn a little thin at the elbows. Dad wore a suit, white shirt and tie all his professional life. When he was working around the house he would don a plaid shirt. After retirement he only wore the white shirts and ties for church meetings, and plaid shirts everywhere else. I don't know that I ever saw my Dad in a t-shirt. Well, at least I don't have to worry about making a t-shirt quilt from his clothing. As I cut up these shirts I recall times Dad wore them and relive some of our experiences together. They are all good memories. He was a very good man--and still is, just on the other side!

If you have any ties to Canada, you may want to get in on this offer from canuckquilter. She designs wonderful patterns and has created this design for Canada's Sesquicentennial. If you click the link above and scroll down her post, you will find a link to this pattern, which is free if you move quickly. Joanne has even posted a suggested timeline to have the quilt done by the July 1st Canada Day celebration.

Until next time,
Janet O.