Thursday, August 31, 2017

A smattering of mostly small stuff

If you followed along with Temecula's Marvelous Mini Monday, are you going to use their final setting? Right now I am just laying the blocks on fabric to audition standard sashing (and I did make 5 extra blocks). I am trying to decide whether or not to use cornerstones. I may also need to play with an on point setting before making a final decision.
These 4" unfinished blocks aren't really as wonky as they appear. It is just hard to get tiny blocks to lay flat without starch, and I don't use that much. (Well, maybe some of them are that wonky.)

Thanks to the help of two generous quilters, Barbara and Eileen, I was able to sash my Love Thy Neighbor mini, and get the border attached. I hadn't planned on cornerstones on the border, but I was just barely shy of enough of the red to complete the border. Not even enough to piece it--and I wasn't going to beg again this soon!

This was made in response to Maureen's invitation to join her in making a house quilt with the theme of "Love Thy Neighbor". Thanks for the suggestion, Maureen.

I have sewing machines in two places in my home--the sewing room, of course, and a nook off the family room. The windmill leader/ender project I have shown on occasion sits beside my sewing machine in the nook. So when I am working on my featherweight in my sewing room, I grab whatever I can to serve as my leader/enders. As I worked on the above projects, I was running out of bonus triangles to sew together. So I did a little digging, and look what surfaced.
Remember these little trees? Kevin the Quilter posted the pattern here. Of course, I downsized it. I had cut out 8, but had only made one. Now I am almost ready to sew the rows together on #3. Maybe I will actually have this ready for Christmas, if I keep sewing in my sewing room.  What a concept! :)

My enabler friend, Karen (Log Cabin Quilter), sent me a photo she had found on a Facebook post on Jo Morton's page. A woman had made a mini quilt featuring these tiny trees that she said finished at 3.5 inches. Was it possible, Karen asked--innocently? Of course, I had to find out.
I used leftover HSTs from my Christmas version of Bonnie Hunter's Smoky Mountain Stars. That wasn't the best idea for something this small, because some of the shirt fabrics I used in that quilt were rather heavy and coarse. They made it hard to get sharp points and creases, but I forced them into submission, and here it is. With no pattern, it was a guessing game on some things. If I ever make one again I will foundation piece the trunk portion, as in Bonnie Hunter's Crab Apples pattern.

I need to get quilting some of these little quilts. The stack is beginning to grow again, and it doesn't yet include the WIP shown above. I don't want a repeat of last year!
These are currently awaiting quilting in the small/mini pile. The three on the right are last year's leftovers that would have taken me to 50 small finishes, had I completed them that year.

But there is something I should quilt before any of those (besides the beast, that is a quilt-when-you-gather-the-courage project).
I finally assembled the top for Mom's quilt from Dad's blue plaid shirts.
I don't know why this has taken me so long. It is such a simple thing and should have been finished months ago.
Now to get it pressed and basted, and "quilt as desired".

It has been such a long, hot summer here, but today is cool and cloudy with occasional showers. I am so ready for Fall! Maybe it is time to break out the Fall colored quilts.

Until next time,
Janet O.

Friday, August 25, 2017

A Swap, a Scrap, and a SAL

My third little quilt swap this year was one that went across the ocean. Raewyn  (stitchingfarmgirl blog) and I had set up a June swap, and then real life set in. We finally pulled it off this month. After our long day on the road for the eclipse on Monday, I came home to this little beauty in my mailbox.
Isn't it sweet?? Amazingly, Raewyn had made note of the fact that I love this pattern, and she made me one! And do you see there is purple in almost every block. This gal played to my heart!! Thanks so much, Raewyn! You know I love it!
And it looks good wherever it goes.

The dining room table is where it currently resides, and it makes me smile whenever I glance at it--or stare at it in wonder. 
The colors make me think of mixed berries.
But this little gem did not cross the ocean alone. It was in the company of several other small treasures.
From a towel trimmed with Kiwiana fabric (representing flowering trees that grow on their farmland), to a bundle of Australian wool, a few New Zealand souvenirs, and an incredible appliqued journal!
Isn't it incredible? Such beautiful work! This alone would have been worth the swap, but I received the quilt, too!!

Oh, something is missing from the photo above. There was another treat. Raewyn and I share the need to be gluten free, so I know I can trust treats she sends. Good stuff!

I feel privileged to have been a partner in this swap. Raewyn has been a good blog friend for many years. She is an incredibly hard working woman, and a very talented and creative quilter. If you aren't familiar with her blog, I encourage you to check it out! See her account of our swap here.

So what did I send Raewyn? Well, I am sorry to say that it wasn't based on a pattern or colors I knew she loved. I just had an idea in my head and ran with it. This is what came of it.
I don't even recall the size of the blocks. Maybe Reawyn can tell us--are the finished pinwheels 1" or 1 1/2"? (You can see in her comment below that they are 1 1/2"--the quilt is 12".)
You can see the quilting in this photo of it, pre-binding.

I named this "Wind Farm", and I just realized I never explained to Raewyn why it is named that. When the top was finished, and I was studying it to decide how to quilt it, I realized it made me think of those areas in the west where you see the large windmills dotting the land, generating power. And even the colors between the pinwheel blocks made me think of the land and sky. In fact, from where we "car camped" on our jaunt to see the total eclipse, you could see just such a sight. At night there were red lights that flashed on and off on the windmills. That could account for the red in the pinwheel blocks. :)
So, there you have the swap. Now for the scrap.
When I put out a call a couple of posts ago, asking if anyone had a piece of the green fabric I needed to finish the sashing on my Love Thy Neighbor quilt, Barbara (myjoyfuljourney blog) responded immediately that she had a 5" piece among her scraps that she would be happy to send me. (If you don't know who Barbara is, you should! See an interview with her for The Quilt Show here.)
I calculated that with the piece she would send I would be able to cut 5 more sashings, and with my scraps and the leftovers from her piece, I could piece together the remaining 3 sashings. I often do the "humble piecing" thing, but it is more obvious on minis, so I avoid it on them if I can. But this is not a show piece (who am I kidding--I have NEVER entered a show), so I was happy to piece the last three sashings, if need be.
Then I heard from Eileen (no blog), and she will be sending along another piece that will enable me to complete the last three sashings without the need to piece them. WooHoo! Thank you to you both! You saved the day for me! Don't we always say it? Quilters are the best!

And finally, the SAL--Temecula's Marvelous Mini Monday. I had really expected  the layout last Monday, but what do I know? We got another block, with the promise of the finish next week. 
I made one of the block, and realized there was no contrast, so I made another. Pretty obvious which is which.

Now we have 20 blocks, which is a much more workable number (excuse the glare from the overhead light).
Of course, I had to play with layout possibilities.

If it turns out that I am not head-over-heels for the final layout, I think I know where I will go with this one. I'll make 5 more blocks, and I may or may not set it on point. We'll see.

Oh, wow. Another long, rambling post--and I am not finished yet. As to the scraps I offered, there were a dozen of you interested, so I dug up more scraps, and drew 3 names. Vic, mangozz, and Nancy, you will each receive a small bundle of scraps. I need addresses from mangozz and Nancy. It may be Monday  before I can get to town and pop these in the mail.

Until next time,
Janet O.

p.s. I just have to say that Blogger was giving me fits as I wrote this post. Whatever I typed would NOT stay in place. The words were dancing back and forth, and up and down. I have never experienced this before. Drove me nuts! I almost deleted the whole thing and walked away. Anyone else experience this?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


From a small town in Idaho, four hours from home, DH and I watched the total solar eclipse with about 30 carloads of our newest friends--most of whom had driven up from Utah (like ourselves) to catch the full effect. It was awe-inspiring!

We left home Sunday evening, after church services and family dinner. We drove into Ririe, ID at 11:00 p.m. Joining a handful of other cars, we parked in an LDS church parking lot and tried to sleep in the back of our van--having removed the back two rows of seats before leaving home and adding 2 foam mats and bedding.

By morning the number of cars had doubled, and as the morning wore on, the numbers kept increasing.
When the eclipse began, there were families and groups all over the church lawn witnessing the bite the moon took from the sun, beginning at the upper right. We were ready! 
The cute family that was next to us during the eclipse was kind enough to pose for me with their glasses on.



As the bites of the moon grew larger, strange things began happening, much of it dealing with shadows.

Shadows lost their sharp edges and became fuzzy and indistinct. Crescent shapes popped up everywhere. See those bumps between hubby's fingers. They aren't there in real life. :)

And rather than light just passing  between the leaves on a tree to a surface below, creating leaf shapes, they acted like the mini pinhole viewers. They showered any surface beneath them with little crescent shaped lights.

As the crescent of the sun becomes more and more a sliver,  we brace ourselves for the big moment.

The quality and intensity of the light around us is changing and seems dim, flat and dull. The air has cooled by several degrees, and there is a soft orange glow on the horizon--in every direction.
And then it happens--totality!
The sky appears to be in the last stages of dusk, the auto-on lights of nearby buildings come on, the temperature has dropped considerably (can be as much as 20 degrees, depending on your location), the stars and planets are visible, there are no shadows, and you get to rip off those glasses and look right at the sun with its blazing corona!

Cheers and whooping erupt from the crowd and then almost a reverent awe settles in as we try to embrace each fleeting moment of this possibly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

In just over 2 minutes the spectacle of totality has passed. It is a memory that will live forever, though the experience itself seemed to slip by incredibly fast!
But the show isn't entirely over. Gradually the moon excuses itself from in front of the sun, until it is barely obscuring the lower left corner. And then it is gone.
(If you look very closely you can detect three sunspots in the center.)

You leave knowing you have been a part of something very special, and that memory makes even the 8 1/2 hours of travel time home (for what should be a four hour trip), all worth it!

Especially when nice people gather on the overpasses to witness and wave to the masses leaving their state.

Until next time (when I will reveal my latest mini quilt swap).
Janet O.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Love Thy Neighbor

In her latest post, Maureen (pursuit of quilts blog) suggested that in light of recent events, she felt compelled to make a quilt using some house blocks that were under construction at her place to create a quilt with the theme "Love Thy Neighbor".  She invited any and all to join her.
Just so happens that I had some little house blocks awaiting placement in a mini quilt I had planned. Well, plans change. This is what I am doing with them.
The blocks finish at 2 3/4", so this won't be terribly big, but I think it gets the point across. I will border it with something, and I think that will take it a little beyond 12" square.
But can you see that I ran out of sashing fabric? That soft green is a Paula Barnes fabric. I was working from what I thought was a generous scrap that would do the job, but the last bits just were not large enough. Even if I piece them I will only make about half the sashings I still need. No other green blends with the greens in this quilt well enough, and I do want the green all the way around the outer edge. An internet search came up empty.

Anyone have any of this fabric I can buy? I really only need 1" WOF, or 2" from the longer edge of a FQ, but I'd love to buy yardage if anyone has some they are willing to sell. I do love this soft green.

I used the heart block that was in the Temecula "Box of Chocolates" mini, shown here. But I had to redraft the block so that it finished at 2 3/4", and I wanted the hearts to float just a bit. I think it will work when I have it all sewn together. 

And speaking of Temecula, they didn't post a finish for their Marvelous Mini Monday SAL this week, as many of you know. Just another block. And now I am more curious than ever about how the blocks will fit together. How do 19 blocks play well together? And 10 of them are sampler blocks--the newest rests in my hand.

I had several tell me they couldn't find the error in my Midnight Flight block, so here you go. See the black triangles in the red circle? See how they point away from the purple, and all the other ones point toward it?

Here is the corrected version.

Much better! 
It is a tricky block to lay out.  I am glad I am only doing a throw size. :)

You often see mountain views on my blog, but lately I haven't really been posting them. So here is one for you. 
This was the view over the weekend when a fire erupted on the other side of the mountain. As we sat out on our deck with a grandson Sunday evening there was a light ash falling from the sky. Not the view I prefer, but interesting, nonetheless.

Almost forgot--in trying to come up with another snip of that green Paula Barnes fabric, I sorted through my scrap basket. My scrap basket is small, as scrap baskets go, but I have decided it is time to replenish it with new stock. From time to time, when kind bloggers share their scraps with me, I set them aside until I decide to purge my basket. It is time. So if you are interested in a pouch full of this, let me know. Keep in mind that I have mostly been making mini quilts, so the scraps are not large--and these are all CW repros in this basket.

Finally--are you chasing the eclipse, or do you live in its path? We are set for a wild adventure trying to brave traffic jams and crowds to see it in its totality. I'll let you know if we even make it. :)

Don't forget--do you have the green fabric, and are you interested in the scraps? Thanks!
Janet O.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Where is this going?

I know it is a mystery, so it isn't like we are supposed to know what we are doing, but on those rare occasions when I participate in a mystery, it is kind of fun to see if I can guess where it is going. I have to admit that this Temecula Marvelous Mini Monday has me stumped.

No matter what layout I try, there is always one leftover block hanging out in the breeze. Next week is supposed to be the last week and I am really curious to see what this is to become.

At Randy's urging, I finally put the borders on all of the blocks. I had been holding off to see the layout and decide if I wanted to do them the way they were posted, or the way I was planning. She convinced me to "take a chance", so I did them my way. I had already turned the 36-patches into 49-patches, and now I made the inner borders from neutrals instead of colors. I have such a hard time following a pattern exactly! :)

I guess all of these blocks are going to wait patiently for the final clue (certainly more patiently than I am waiting).

Have you figured it out?

Below you see a very rough draft of my first Midnight Flight block. I got so confused trying to lay this out, that I haven't sewn it together yet. My colors do not provide as much contrast as Bonnie's, so the design is not as bold.

 As I was pressing the units to lay this out I realized something that made me laugh. I think my 1.25" finished blocks in the Fairy Garden Party quilt are more carefully and precisely sewn than these larger units are. I guess I get sloppy when I go large. 
Oh, right. I see the block in the upper left quadrant that I have turned the wrong way--like I said, I had a hard time with this layout. At least it isn't all sewn together.

Thank you to all for your very kind comments on my last post. I appreciate each one!

Until next time,
Janet O.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Did I Do That?

Do you remember the sitcom with the skinny, nerdy guy that used to ask that question all the time? I think the character was Steve Urkel, but I don't recall the name of the show.
Anyway, his voice sounded that question in my ear when I finally had this sewn together.
If you read my last post, you know that this is based on Bonnie Hunter's Garden Party from her book, Addicted to Scraps. You will also know that a cutting error on my part was the cause of the alteration of my plans from 2.5" finished blocks to 1.25" finished. I think I will name this Fairy Garden Party.

Here is some perspective.
This was obviously prior to adding borders.

I realize not all readers may be familiar with the size of the U.S. quarter.
The color on this photo is really off (took it at night without a flash), but it gives a comparison that may be more recognizable for some.

Something of which I never tire with mini quilts is watching how much they shrink as they are assembled.
Even my 30-something son that was visiting as I took this photo got a kick out of this.

Three things I can't do without when assembling a quilt like this are my Itty Bitty Eights 5x15 ruler and the two original smaller ones from Creative Grid, my Clover Fine glass-head pins, and my Ott-Lites.

These rulers are a mini quiltmaker's dream come true, though they are perfect for any size quilt where accuracy is critical. I reviewed the smaller two here, and after being asked what I would like for Mother's Day last May, the larger one found its way to my sewing room. It quickly became indispensable!

The thin, dashed lines, and markings in 1/8th increments make precision much easier to achieve.
 Every thread counts when making a mini.

When sewing seams on a little quilt I pin copiously! Every seam that matches up, and the beginning and ending of every seam gets its own pin--and sometimes the spaces in between. The slim pins cause almost no distortion, and I do sew right over them. I stitch very slowly on minis, so the pins don't go flying, even if I do hit one (which isn't often). All of the blocks for my Fairy Garden Party were stitched on my Featherweight, but the rows were stitched and assembled on my Pfaff.
I also like the fact that if I do need to press anything with pins in it, there is no melting risk, as with plastic headed pins.

Last, but not least, is my Ott-Lite. I have been sewing with an Ott-Lite by my machine for about 20 years. I know there are newer "full-spectrum" lights available, but I am very happy with my Ott-Lites. I now have 9 of them at my house.

This is one of the two that I added to the flock this week when Jo~Ann had them 50% off and there was a one day coupon for 20% off your total purchase. DD#2 and I made a quick run to Jo~Ann and each came home with 2 new lights. Featherweights aren't equipped with the brightest of lights, but this lamp spotlights the stitching area beautifully.

Are you doing the Temecula Mini Monday blocks? If so, how did you do on this week's blocks?
I struggled with an inexact seam allowance, so I opted to make my blocks 49 patches, on a 7x7 grid. The squares  were cut at 1" (actually most of the blocks were strip pieced), and the blocks are unfinished at 4" without having to play with the seam allowances. The fourth one is almost finished, and pieces for #5 are waiting to be sewn. There are multiple SALs I intended to do this year, but this is the only one I have actually followed.

Well, I think that covers it for now. The pile of mini quilt flimsies is beginning to grow again. I do NOT want a repeat of last year, so I had better get some quilted very soon!
Until next time, 
Janet O.