Friday, April 26, 2019

Small Things & Signs of Spring

In Pam Buda's Circa 1880 Club you get a new pattern for a small quilt on the even months of this year. This is April's pattern--I only have the top assembled. I am not sure how I will quilt this so it will sit on the back burner for now.
The cheddar Xs contain the names of the makers of the four blocks surrounding the X. I used up some of my extra swapped blocks to make this, and I wanted to remember who made the blocks I used.

My trial run cheddar and indigo piece is my April Mini-of-the-month with Wendy at The Constant Quilter blog. I hand quilted it and found enough long, skinny strips of the vintage indigo pieces from Sandy (my material creations blog) to make the binding. I really love how this turned out.

Now I need to get going on the actual mini I have in mind for the Indigo Challenge, which is to be completed by the end of next month. I really appreciate Sandy sharing her vintage indigo scraps and inviting a few of us to join her in a challenge to use them in making a mini. As I said, this was my trial run to get a feel for working with the fabrics. My actual challenge piece is sketched and waiting for some action.


You can see the quilting a little better in the photo of the back. Nothing fancy--just stitch-in-the-ditch, and triangles inside the large Indigo triangles.
This finished at 9 1/4" x 10 3/4". 
The backing fabric is a pretty large-scale print that was sent to me by a generous blogger. I thought it finished off the piece nicely.

My Circa 1880 quilt continues to grow, and with that, so do the number of tiny rogue blocks I am inserting. To make sure they are "period correct" blocks (after all, this is an 1880s quilt) I pulled a bunch of books from my "quilt history" shelves and spent some time perusing their pages, looking for blocks that could be made smaller and work on a 4 x 4 grid. This is my latest creation. The blocks all finish at 2".
I now have 6 "rogue" blocks in my quilt. There will probably be one more. I have made 23 rows, and that is where the pattern ends, but I plan to put 4 more rows in mine and one of them will include the 7th "rogue" block.
Four of the blocks are completely different from the uneven 9-patch, but two of them are just different centers on the regular block. Can you find all six?

Okay--that concludes the quilty content. Stop here if that is all you want. Otherwise, here we go!

Did you know that April 21st is National Tea Day in The United Kingdom? Well, the little tea shop next door to the quilt shop over the mountain held a "British Invasion" tea tasting on April 19th in honor of that day. There were British flags hanging all around, Victorian furniture out front, Beetles music playing, and you could put on a fancy hat and have your photo taken with the queen. And you could taste any and all flavors of tea they had in the shop. On top of that, the tea was "buy 3 get one free".

Left: Me and the queen

Right: My friend Chris, trying another flavor

We certainly made the most of this event. Chris likes all kinds of tea, and she tried 15 varieties on her own. I only do herbal teas and she also tasted a few of the 10 herbal blends I sampled. She could probably take home a prize for the most teas tasted at a tasting, right Chris? We each have a generous stash of teas at home and admitted we didn't "need" more. But that didn't stop us from taking advantage of the sale. It was a fun evening. They hold these tastings the third Friday of every month, and the quilt shop next door keeps its doors open until 8 on those nights, too. Win/win!

Just wanted to share a few photos of the signs of spring around the farm. You can click on them for a better view.

Before posting this I looked back at my last post. I ended that one by saying it had been two weeks since I had posted and I hoped it wouldn't be that long before my next post. Well, it wasn't--it was longer. Three weeks!! Where does the time go?
I'm making no promises about my next post.
Until next time (whenever it may be), 
Janet O.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Pyramids, Strings, Scrappy Trips, and Circa 1880

This post is a real hodgepodge. I'll start with this little cheddar and indigo quilt top. Sandy (my material creations blog) recently had the good fortune to receive a bundle of old indigo scraps that appear to be leftover cuttings from clothing construction. She has been kind enough to share and there are a few of us participating in a small quilt challenge incorporating the indigo scraps in any way we choose.
When I think indigo, my mind immediately follows with cheddar, and I knew what I wanted to do with these lovely blues. But Sandy cautioned that the fabrics were on the thin side and they frayed easier than what we are used to using. So I decided to do a "trial run" little top to get a feel for working with them. That would give me a chance to see whether or not my idea would work. 

I have always admired a little quilt Marian Edwards (Dream Weaver blog--scroll to the bottom of her post) made back when the Panama Pyramids craze was in full swing. It was the inspiration for this, but I switched the placement of the cheddar in my quilt. I wanted to show off the indigos. After working with the fabric, I think I may be able to go ahead with my original plan, if I am careful. Thanks, Sandy, for the chance to work with these wonderful vintage fabrics. Can't wait to see what the others create.

While digging for some particular scraps this weekend, I came upon my ancient string project. Just so you know, I don't love working with strings, but many years ago (like, more than 10) I took a class on foundation piecing with no pattern. Sounded interesting. We worked on 3 projects. One was finished into a quilt and donated. One was given away to someone who was more interested in finishing it than I was. And this one has been in a box for longer than I have been blogging. But Lori (humble quilts blog), who has been hosting a string-along, encouraged me to at least pull it out and look at it. So I did, and I do like the look of it.
And now that I have looked at it, it is once again in a box in the closet. :)

My design wall looked like this earlier this week. I got all of the Scrappy Trips blocks made. I need to press them and square them up before I start assembling them. I pulled out my Kansas Troubles fabric and found the light piece I wanted to use for the inner border. But I didn't have enough of anything I liked for an outer border (I want this bigger, but am so done making these blocks--started this in 2013).
So I ordered a piece from an etsy shop. Always risky--not knowing the true colors, but it is a Kansas Troubles fabric and they usually work pretty well together.

Now my design wall looks like this.
I have 14 rows made for my Circa 1880 quilt. Last post not a soul even tried to guess how many of these little blocks I had made.  And I had planned to send a prize to the one who came closest. Oh, well. :)

These rows are not sewn together. I haven't trimmed the dog ears yet, and I am pondering whether or not to stay-stitch the edges, as some have recommended.

Every other row is made with blocks I received from someone via swaps. It is fun to be able to look down a row and recognize the person who made them based on their style and color preferences. But I won't leave it all to memory. I am planning on labeling each row with the maker's name.

If you look closely you may spot a rogue block. Last week at our Circa 1880 Club meeting it was mentioned that someone was making the quilt King Size AND they wanted to add a border around the edge of 2" basket blocks--with appliqued handles! It is a guy who works part time at the shop that is doing all this. Then someone else mentioned that it would be fun to put 2" baskets mixed in the quilt. I thought about that, and ended up deciding, "Why just baskets?" So right now my plan is to include a 2" log cabin, pineapple, star, and one or two other blocks. There will just be one of each, randomly scattered through the rows I make out of my own blocks. I like giving that little tweak to the design.

I guess that covers things for now.  Hopefully it won't be another two weeks before I can put another post together--but don't hold your breath. 
Until next time,
Janet O.