Friday, February 28, 2020

February Monthly Mini

Here I am posting my February mini and it isn't even the last day of the month--barely. What is up with that?
This month I finished up that little "Tree of Life" block that I shared last time. It is currently hanging in the Christmas Corner of my sewing room.
I may have to name this Charlie Brown's Tree, because it is pretty tipsy and sad looking. But having been made without a pattern, I'm okay with that.

The quilting is mostly stitch-in-the-ditch, with the feathers in the setting triangles. You can see the quilting a little better in this photo, where I had just finished sewing the binding to the front and hadn't yet wrapped and pinned it to the back. This gives you a better size perspective, too. It finished at about 8 1/2" square. (Linking with Wendy at The Constant Quilter blog for the Monthly Minis.)
Except for the brown fabrics in the tree trunk, this is all made from fabrics from men's shirts found at thrift stores. All of the little HSTs were bonus triangles from when I made Bonnie Hunter's Smokey Mountain Stars pattern. Check out the link for the free pattern on her website.

I called my version Rocky Mountain Christmas. One of these days I might actually quilt it. Wouldn't that be a shocker!!

Another shocker is how short this post is! Crazy busy life prevents me from much stitching, though I have made progress on my "Mom's Flower Garden", and more hand stitching on my son's mission quilt. I'll share those soon.

Tonight DH and I are headed to Salt Lake City for a unique performance. It is a showing of one of my favorite old musicals, "Singin' In The Rain." It is shown in film, but the music is provided live by the Utah Symphony. Our children gave us the tickets for Christmas. Should be fun!
Do you like musicals? If so, do you have a favorite?

Until next time,
Janet O.

p.s. My oldest daughter sent me this link, and if you have a minute and would be willing to help her, please click it. She has joined a program that gives parenting help, and they are offering an opportunity for someone in the program to earn their help for life. She was chosen as one of the five finalists based on submitted videos, and they are accepting votes for those five until March 3rd. Her name is Angie, and you can vote for her if you choose, or watch the brief videos and follow your heart--her words, not mine.

Caught this sunset a couple of days ago out my sewing room window.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Flowers and Foliage

My "Mother's Flower Garden" quilt is coming along. I am just finishing up appliqueing the last block to the background on the fourth row. Two more rows to go--you can see the sashing and cornerstones are cut and waiting for those last two rows. The border fabric is on the left. It is a Kim Diehl print fabric in a slightly lighter shade than the cornerstones.

I think I am going to take a big chance (for me) and start stitching the rows from the blocks I have already made. I have never stitched up my rows before without having all of the blocks completed and having spent the requisite days (or weeks) switching blocks around until I have either found the arrangement I like, or have thrown my hands in the air and given up.

Though the fabrics in my flowers are from the 80s and 90s, I still wanted to use 30s colors in the sashing and cornerstones. It just has that feel to me.There was a day when I didn't know if I could face this quilt again, but I am glad I finally pulled it out of the deep, dark closet. I am surprised at how much I like it now.

Other flowers I have been enjoying include this Amaryllis. This photo shows it when 6 of its 8 buds were open.


And the Valentine's Day bouquet hubby brought me is a gorgeous bundle of two-toned roses.

Did you celebrate Valentine's Day? Aside from my favorite Fresh Salmon Friday lunch at a local eatery, I spent much of my time making and delivering these. This was one of three trays.
It started a couple of years ago as something I wanted to do for some of the widows or home bound in my community on Valentine's Day. It was so fun--I really enjoy making them, and seeing the surprised faces of the recipients. But when I tried to do it again last year, there was not a strawberry to be found in the local grocery stores. This year I made up for it! 


As to the foliage in my post title, I am finally back to the hand quilting of another old UFO, but this one is only 10 years old. I finished assembling this Tree of Life medallion quilt in 2011. It was to commemorate my youngest son's two years as a missionary in Brazil. Each design has significance to his experiences there.

It sat idle for years until I had it machine basted by a long-arm quilter so I could start the hand quilting in 2016. With all of the shoulder problems I have had over the last several years, I just rarely felt like working on it. It remained as you see it here for longer than I care to admit.
Just this month I have actually been able to move the quilt in the hoop a couple of times. 

I struggled with what to quilt in the yellow setting triangles. Though they scream for feathers, I didn't want it to look feminine. 
I finally decided on the curved cross-hatching, but needed to order a larger curved ruler in order to do the marking. I have never hand quilted curved cross-hatching before. I find I like it. I finished up the first yellow corner this weekend.

And the last bit of foliage comes from this tiny Tree of Life.
I made that center block on a dare from Karen (logcabinquilter blog)--I don't even recall how many years ago. Do you, Karen?  She just sent me a photo she had seen on Pinterest, with the block dimension. I think she said it was a 4" unfinished block. I tried to make it with just that much to go on. It is kind of wonky, but I am finally making a little quilt out of it. It has been pinned to the side of my design wall ever since I finished it.
I am easily amused and I get a kick out of seeing how much tiny pieces shrink as they are sewn together. On the left are 14 1" unfinished HSTs (I miscounted somehow--I only need 13). On the right are 13 1/2" finished HSTs . I don't know yet if I will add any other rounds to this little medallion. This is as far as my brain has taken me.

Surprisingly, I didn't have to draw more than one name for the soap bundle I promised in my last post. Usually the first name or two belong to "no reply" profiles and I can't contact them, so I have to draw another name. This time I got a winner right out of the gate, and I am thrilled to say it is Wendy of The Constant Quilter blog. I link with her each month for the Monthly Mini. I'll get that sent out to you on Monday, Wendy.

Until next time,
Janet O.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

January monthly mini, retreat update, new (old) machine, etc.--or the longest post on record

I only posted once in January, so there is much to share. Maybe I should have titled this, "How many photos can you squeeze into one post?" Let's find out...
My (late) January monthly mini is the completed "December Small Quilt" from the Circa 1880 club. Linking with Wendy at The Constant Quilter blog.

It is the smallest of the six small quilts that were part of the quilt shop-sponsored Circa 1880 clubs. This gives you a little better perspective on the size.
My quilting on this was very simple. (Do I say that every time?) I did stitch-in-the-ditch around the piecing in the center. In the photo above I think you can faintly see the FMQ I did in the border.

I was very thrilled to get to go to most of Winter Retreat, sponsored by Village Dry Goods (the little shop over the mountain to which I often refer). It was held at the same beautiful venue it has been in for the last few years.
This is always such a boost after a busy holiday season, but with Mom's needs, I didn't think I could go. Fran (the shop owner) told me she would be saving a place for us (Kim and I) if I could work things out. At the last minute we got my nephew's daughter (a CNA) to cover the times my brother would need help with Mom during retreat. Chloe, my grand-niece, had just moved back home and was looking for work. What a blessing that was!

This is an "open sew" retreat (which I love), but they do offer classes each day for those who choose to participate. One very popular class is their annual mystery quilt, designed by Fran and Laurie. I never take classes, but it was fun to see the revealed mystery. The two quilts are from the same pattern, but one is in dark & dirty CW repro fabrics and the other is in more bright/modern fabrics. The difference in the appearance of the design is really fun to see. 
Kim, Fran, me
Here I am with my roommate and dear friend Kim, and our fun and dear friend, Fran. We started out just smiling for the camera, but ended up laughing. It is hard to be serious with Fran around.

I try to focus on UFOs at retreat. This time it was so last minute and I was very unprepared. I had just thrown a bunch of projects together and figured I would sort it out when I got there. I spent the morning taking my Mom for another medical procedure, and by the time I reached the retreat I was exhausted and had a hard time getting focused. Eventually I buckled down and pulled out a pattern I had purchased years ago when Pam Buda came to our Winter Retreat as a teacher. I purchased this pattern of hers because I thought it was fun to buy a pattern named "Winter Retreat" at Winter Retreat.
I had even brought along some blank signature blocks the year I bought that pattern and I had Pam, a couple of friends who attended, and the two shop owners sign the blocks. They have been stored with the pattern ever since. I worked on this that first day and half of the next day before I decided the rest of the borders could go on at home. I haven't managed to do that yet.

The second afternoon I pulled out a little quilt I started at last year's Winter Retreat. This is a Kim Diehl pattern named Prairie Sky. I had purchased the kit without realizing that it was applique. Then I had set out to find a different way to make it. 


I wound up foundation piecing it. I got all of the blocks finished and brought it home and attached the border. Notice how nice and neat the back is (NOT)! I made one less row than the pattern indicated, and I made solid borders instead of scrappy.

My final project was Bonnie Hunter's mystery, Easy Street. Yes, I know this is from 2012. In my defense, I didn't start mine until...2013. :)
Mine is made from thrift store shirts and back when I started this I didn't always choose shirts wisely. Some fabrics are a bit thick, others a bit ravely. I don't love working with them. Besides that fact, I make so many mistakes sewing up these blocks, it discourages me every time I try. I think out of the two blocks I made at retreat I unpicked on the first one 5 times! I think the pattern calls for about 25 blocks set on point, with pieced setting triangles. My apologies to Bonnie, but I made two more blocks at retreat (I had come with 10), laid them out and decided I was finished making blocks.
Using a straight set, it will be a nice throw quilt size. At home I used some leftover parts to put a small pieced border around the edge and then I fussy-cut the purple striped fabrics leftover from a couple of the shirts and made a solid-looking border all around. Here it is pinned to my design wall. I just need to piece the two borders on the sides and attach them. Usually I make the top borders go across the corners, but there wasn't enough of that purple--and not enough of the darker purple to do the whole border. I plan to complete those two borders today. I am being stinkin' productive lately. :)      (And it is about time!)

The only other thing I did at retreat was label the ends of the rows of my Circa 1880. The long rows are comprised of blocks made by me, but the short rows are made from blocks swapped with others. 
Where possible, I made a whole row with one person's blocks. Pam, Cyndi and Wendy were my original swap partners. I also swapped with 5 other quilters. It is really a treat to have their blocks in my quilt. I took this quilt with me to Village Dry Goods during retreat and chose fabrics for the border--and ended up not using them. Well, I did use one of them. This is now a finished top.
I bought more of the aged muslin to make a small inner border that would "float" the blocks inside the colored border. And I did that. But I did not use the black tonal print I was going to use to create a narrow border, before adding a medium blue, small scale paisley for the outer border. It didn't click. I pulled everything from my stash that was large enough to possibly border this quilt, but nothing did it for me until I put this red paisley from French General next to the top. 
There was just enough length (barely) to border the sides, but I did have to match and piece the top and bottom borders. I was pleased that the matching turned out so well. This photo is a tad blurry, but it shows one of the matched borders.

I had tried to make this quilt larger than the pattern to fit a queen size bed.
Here it is on our guest room bed. I think it works. Now this has to get in line to be quilted. I'm thinking Baptist Fans.

Just a few quick things to close this record long post. I was recently gifted this sweet machine. Anyone know anything about it? Think it is a model 15-something (ETA: I have been corrected--this is a 99k) and was made in Scotland in the 1920s. I haven't really had time to explore it yet, but I would appreciate any insight you might have. You can click the photos to get a closer look.
Finally, my sweet Mom turns 90 tomorrow. This is a photo of her back in November. She is still chipper, but suffered another fall on New Year's Eve and acquired 3 more compression fractures in her spine--bringing her total of fractures in 2019 to 10!
She is so ready to "graduate", but we are cherishing the time we have left with her.

I will leave you with this cheerful view above my kitchen sink. Eight of my 16 orchids are blooming again. The others have bloom stems coming. The flowers are such a welcome sight in the midst of winter. The blossoms last for months!

If you have stuck it out until the end of this lengthy post, leave a comment and I will thank one of you with a bundle of herbal soap. 
Until next time,
Janet O.