Saturday, September 29, 2018

September Mini--barely

Wendy issued an invitation at the beginning of the year for anyone who would like to join her in making a mini a month. Mine are usually just squeaking under the wire--like this one.

When I realized the month was almost over, and my time at home was very limited, I decided to quilt up a top I already had made. This little quilt has a story behind it.

My Mom was always making bed quilts to give to family members. Each time she started a new one Dad would tease that maybe this one would finally be for him. So when she started on a quilt that came to be known in the family as "The Cowboy Quilt", Dad asked if this one was his and she surprised him by saying yes. 

I made this little basket wall hanging almost entirely out of leftover pieces from the making of the cowboy quilt, that did in fact become Dad's (and since Dad's passing, my brother owns The Cowboy quilt). The only exception is that the blue sashing and binding are made from pieces of my Dad's favorite shirt.

That shirt had become so threadbare in places, I had to cut carefully to get the strips I needed. It is a little curly in one corner in the photo above. I hadn't finished the binding yet and the pins that were holding it down distorted the corner.

The quilting is just  stitch-in-the-ditch on the basket blocks and around the sashing. I did a simple rope design in the border. That is a quick "go to" design for me when I don't want to feather a border.

The backing fabric has little blue flowers, and you will notice that the baskets are holding something blue as well. There is significance to that. Mom has always joked with us about a couple of songs that she says we should sing at her funeral one day. One song references gathering armfuls of blossoms of blue, and ends with the line "Dear Mother, all flowers remind me of you." 

We recently learned of the origins of the song and it makes the whole thing rather melancholy, but I didn't know the origin when I planned this quilt, and that song was going through my mind the whole time I worked on it.

That's it for now. Quite a lack of sewing time lately.
Until next time, 
Janet O.

Oops, I forgot to announce the winner of the drawing. :)
Brenda's name was drawn from those interested. Please send me your snail mail address Brenda, and I will get this little package sent your way.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Last block sewn!

You've seen a lot of this one, I know. It was started back in March, just a couple of weeks before my shoulder surgery. Since the logs were mostly already cut (thanks to Karen), this was one of the few things I could work on when a rotary cutter was off limits.
Can't wait to start trimming the blocks and sewing things together! A fun story about this--while we had all the family staying with us in August, our youngest son was using my sewing room for his room. During his stay there he had a video job interview for his dream job and he filmed it with this as the backdrop. When he got called in for the live interview his video backdrop was one of the first things the interviewers mentioned. And yes, he got the job! :)
It is a good thing they couldn't see the whole wall, because it isn't very neat. 
This is things as they really are. I am often pinning things onto the edges of my design wall, and as my main focus project grows, I remove or squish together those items, as needed.
Notice on the left side, about midway down, I have the recently made tiny 9-patch flimsy hanging from a cute little quilt holder a sweet blog friend had sent a few years back. I was auditioning it to see how it would look in that holder. Then I noticed the fun contrast to see those tiny blocks next to the large ones in the half log cabin.

I also have my Jewel Box mini blocks made and have started stitching it together since I took this photo. But I am running into all kinds of issues with seams not being pressed in directions that will nest together. I don't want to press seams open because I want to stitch in the ditch, so where I can, I need to do some repressing.

And remember this mess in the sewing room closet?

Now it looks like this...

This makes me so much happier when I open the closet doors!
In two weeks I cut up 14 dozen shirts, piled up another 2 dozen to go back to the thrift store , and threw away about a dozen that I had started to cut apart and realized the weave was too coarse, or too textured, or too loose. Many of those were purchased in my early days of collecting. Now I know better what works and what doesn't.
And I can look forward to working with more of these plaids and stripes in future projects. I have a few in mind already. No surprise there. :)

In the past four months I have tried to give this pattern and scrap bundle away twice, but each time I picked a name and posted the winner, asking them to get back to me with their address, they never responded.  

They say the third time's the charm, so I am putting that to the test. If you are interested in this doll quilt pattern and CW repro scraps, say so in your comment, and then please check back to see if you won. To sweeten the pot, last soap making session I made some fun Fall shapes, and I will throw in a couple of bars.

Next month I will be in the Lenox, MA area for a few days. Anyone know of a quilt shop in the vicinity that would be a "must visit" for a CW repro fabric lover?

Until next time,
Janet O.

Friday, September 7, 2018

I am such a cut-up!

At least I have been for the past few days. In trying to restore my sewing room, after it had been a guest room for 10 days, I fell down a rabbit hole and haven't yet emerged.
If you saw my recent post about plaids, you know I like making quilts from shirts.
My sewing room closet is where I have tossed stored my thrift store shirts. As I was pulling the things out of my closet that had gone in hiding while family was staying with us, I saw the shirts that were spilling from their containers and piling up on the closet floor.
I had been thinking about using some shirts for a baby quilt, but every time I think about using them, I remember that they need cutting apart, and that halts me in my tracks.
So, I started cutting. Not at all what I had planned on doing this week!

Many of you are familiar with Bonnie Hunter's video showing how to cut apart a shirt (she calls it de-boning). She says you should do it with a good pair of dressmaker's shears--that a rotary cutter and mat are not the best way to go.
For me, they are the best option. My hands do not like all of that cutting motion, and using a new blade in my rotary cutter is much easier on my cutting hand. I get a shirt taken apart in 5 or 6 minutes.

Bonnie uses every bit of fabric--even the "gizzard", as she calls it. I used to do that, too. But as I started cutting up these shirts, I quickly realized that my time was not going to allow me to get it all. Besides, many of the small bits she says go in the "string bucket". I don't do strings, so I don't need to fill that bucket.

I used to be very good about cutting apart collars, and cuffs--and saving all of the buttons, too. This time I threw away the collars, and just set aside the button plackets and cuffs. I am not sure why, because I don't plan to save them. But at the moment I couldn't bring myself to put them in the garbage bag. Anyone feeling a need for a bunch of buttons and cuffs? :)
As I have been sorting through the shirts I am finding some that I now realize are too coarse, or heavy to use in regular or miniature piecing. I have cut those types of shirts into 8 1/2" squares and made a couple of piles for making simple picnic quilts. One pile is red/tan/blue, and the other is Fall colors.
So far I have gone through over 7 dozen shirts! It feels good, but I am not even quite halfway through! I have really been focused on it this week, but I will have to take a step back  after this. I still hope that by the end of this month I will have all of the shirts cut apart and nicely stored in usable form, as they are on the shelves on the right, below.
 Aside from the neutral shirts you see above, I still have a bunch of brown/black, a basket of yellow/gold, a pile of orange/rust, another tub of navy blue, and a bin of white/bright/pastel.
I think I need an intervention at the thrift store!! But my new rule is that I cannot buy any more shirts until these are all cut apart, and even then it has to be because I need a certain color, AND I have to cut it up as soon as I get it home!

Now, in more interesting news, my little quilt from Randy arrived yesterday!
When I posted it before, it was just from photos Randy had sent me. Now it is in my home, and it is even more lovely in person!

Thank you, Randy, for another delightful swap, and the lovely blank book you included with it, that I forgot to photograph. As always, it is a pleasure swapping with you!

I must confess that I still haven't taken down the patriotic quilts and decor around the house, but I am so ready to be done with hot, dry days! Bring on Fall, and the quilts in Fall colors!

Until next time,
Janet O.