Saturday, December 29, 2018

December mini-of-the-month

I was determined to get my Mini-of-the-Month posted before New Year's Eve. My last post was 4 weeks ago, when I posted my November monthly mini a day late. So here is what I came up with this month. I hadn't done any stitching for weeks, and I needed a quick fix.
This is based on a Merry Mini Monday free pattern shared by Sheryl at Temecula Quilt Co. If you take the link to her post you will see how I altered it.

A "pre-binding" shot gives you a clearer look at the quilting. Very simple stuff, for a very simple design. I thought about hand quilting the motif in the center of each block, but I needed this to be a finish this December, not next year.

Here is another glamor shot. I  named mine Christmas Crossroads.

So what have I been doing all of those weeks when I wasn't stitching? Aside from the usual Christmas busyness, I was finishing up a very long-term project that has nothing to do with quilting.
In 2005 I began acting as my Father's scribe while he dictated his life story. In his later years he had a genetic tremor that made writing and typing difficult, and I was anxious to have his story. So we worked once a week, whenever we could, over the course of 10 years. The last year of his life we just tacked on a paragraph now and then to tell what he was doing at that point. Since his passing I have proofread, edited, searched for photos and documents to include, and tried to eliminate duplication. When you spread your story out over that many years, it is easy to forget that you already included something in another section of the story.

The past few months became crunch time, with a goal to have the book printed and bound for my siblings and I to give it to our children for Christmas this year. In order to achieve that I set aside everything that I could and spent hours every day for weeks getting it ready to submit. Mission accomplished! And I just realized that today is the second anniversary of his passing. 
Sure do miss you, Dad!

Now I have a little more breathing room time-wise, I have started quilting one of the minis from the stack of those that need completion. I chose one from a Pam Buda pattern that I made a couple of years ago, I believe.
This is the stitch-in-the-dtich in progress on my DSM. Tedious at times, I admit, but I like what it does for a quilt, so I persist. I will move to Gidget (my HQ Sweet 16) for the FMQ.

I received a belated birthday gift earlier this month from my friend, Kris (Lavender Quilts blog) in Oregon.
She sent me one of those great fabric bowls she makes in some of my favorite colors. And she stocked it with goodies, too! Thanks, Kris! I love it all!

Just want to share one more thing (channeling my inner Columbo). I have repurposed a quilting item as a "game night" helper. When our kids come over for game nights at our house, we have occasionally run into issues with some games that require you to hold a large amount of cards in your hand, and keep sorting through them to find which one you need to play. A year or two ago, while playing the card game version of "Ticket to Ride,"  I realized a quilting ruler rack was perfect to hold my hand of cards, let me see them all at once, and choose the one I wanted to play much more quickly and easily. Since then I have used coupons at Jo~Ann to pick up a couple more, when I didn't need something else. Now I have enough for 4 players! Here you can see 2 of us with our hand for a round of "Deer in the Headlights."
Now you know what to get with your next coupon! :)

Have you decided on your quilting goals for next year? I have been giving it some thought, and have come to zero conclusions. However, I have almost narrowed down the projects I will be taking to retreat the second week of January. Looking forward to it!

Until next time, 
Janet O.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

A Tardy Mini of the Month--and more

Others have said they barely squeaked under the wire with their entries in Wendy's Mini-of-the-Month challenge. I don't even qualify for that. I tried to get this posted before November came to an end, but it just didn't happen. My mini Dresden Plate flimsy became a finish in November (well, almost finished--binding needs stitching down). This was made using mostly the Wild Orchid line of fabrics by Blackbird Design. Being the proud owner of over a dozen orchids, how could I not love that fabric for it's name alone?
All of the stitch-in-the-ditch was done by walking foot on my domestic machine, and the outer border was done via free motion quilting on Gidget (my HQ Sweet Sixteen).

But the echo quilting around the plates was done by hand. When I can, I like combining hand and machine quilting in my minis, placing the hand quilting where it will shine, and letting the machine do what won't be as visible.
I marked the echo line with a ruler and a water soluble pen.

Here are front and back shots of the quilting. They can be enlarged for a better look.

You can clearly see on the back view that the binding is being held down with pins. Why is it that most of my Minis-of-the-Month have been posted in that condition? Can I never fully meet a deadline? Apparently not.
I opted not to stitch between the blades of the plates. The seams were pressed open, so ditch stitching wasn't an option, and there were too many layers and overlapping seams there for any hand quilting.

It feels good to have this finished (almost). Though I am always cutting it close--or entirely missing the mark--I have appreciated that Wendy's challenge has helped me get a few small finishes in a year that has seen a minimal amount of quilting time.

I know many of you have seen or even participated in the fun Temecula Christmas mystery SAL. Isn't that a great little Burgoyne Surrounded in holiday colors? Made me think of the red/white Burgoyne Surrounded that I began years ago. I had to hunt a bit to find it, and when I finally did, the contents practically exploded out when I opened the bin.
This will be a 9 block mini. The blocks finish at less that 4", and with 97 pieces in each block, they are some mighty small pieces, and it takes concentration to put a block together.

After opening up this project box I took the time to trim up the 4, 6, and 9 patch units needed to make one block. Then I laid it out next to a finished block.

It never ceases to amuse me to see how much mini blocks shrink when assembled. The rotary cutter is there to give perspective on the size.

And while we are on the red/white theme, I got one more X block ready to stitch down. If you missed my last post about the 70273 project, you can click here to see what this is all about.

A parting shot from my recent birthday. My youngest son celebrated his birthday just a month prior to mine. This balloon his boss gave him was still inflated enough that he brought it to add to my celebration. I think it is a hoot!

Prayers go out for all those who have suffered loss recently, through natural disaster, or senseless violence. Sometimes it is hard to know where your resources can best be used. But doing good anywhere is better than doing nothing. I hope if you are able, you have chosen a way to help. And if you are not able to give, I am a firm believer in the power of prayer, and that is anyone's to offer.

Until next time, 
Janet O.