Saturday, May 23, 2020

May Monthly Mini and Moonrise for Maggie

Don't anyone fall over in shock that I am posting my monthly mini a whole week before the month ends. It is highly out of character for me, I know. I will link with Wendy at The Constant Quilter blog for our monthly mini at the end of the month
This is from the Pam Buda pattern Cinnamon Sticks from her Tokens of the Past "Spice Box" collection. I actually bought this in kit form--rare for me. The cool pincushion with it is from a swap I had with Julie last August. You can see in the pattern below that this mini has a border, but when I got mine to that point it just felt finished.
The batting was very flat cotton, so it was hard to get a good photo of the quilting design I used, but I did the best I could to adjust the lighting. Maybe you can tell what I quilted.
The official name of this pattern may be Cinnamon Sticks, but I have named mine Chocolate Covered Cinnamon Bears. That is how I prefer my cinnamon. :)

I do love red/brown quilts, and have made a few small ones. Okay, so the little one in the clip has a bit of pink in it, too, but overall it is red/brown.

Maggie's quilt got bound, washed, labeled and shipped. I am happy to report that the bleeding from the thread and the panda bears on the backing (bleeding panda bears--that doesn't sound good) was all taken care of when I washed it in blue Dawn and threw in three Color Catchers. The Color Catchers came out more grey than orange, but you could tell there was an underlying orange tinge to them.

Thank you to Debbie for the name  suggestion "Moonrise for Maggie." I loved that, and it went on the label, along with the acknowledgement that the quilt was made from Bonnie Hunter's Orca Bay pattern.

Since I finish so few large quilts, I had to get a few glamor shots and celebrate the moment.
This was in the yard with some of the lilacs that are currently scenting the air. DH was a good quilt holder, even though the breeze was working against him.

Here is another shot with the lilacs.

And finally inside on my living room quilt rack. It is obviously brighter than what is usually in my home. The other quilts on the rack were made by my Mom.
Thanks for indulging me and my photo shoot. :)

You know, sometimes it is just really hard to give something away. Not because I don't want to give it, but because there is no one to take it. The first numbered comment I drew in my blogiversary giveaway was someone who asked not to be included. The next three were people who were "no reply" comments, and they had not included their email. I want to thank all those of you who DID include your email. Too bad you weren't one of the ones chosen by the random number generator. But FINALLY Barbara Black came up as the winner and she has been notified, and her prize will be in the mail soon.

Thanks for all your lovely comments. They brighten my day. It is fun to hear from so many of you.

Until next time,
Janet O.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Maggie's quilt and a blogiversary

Maggie is my youngest granddaughter. She just turned 5 and I haven't made a quilt for her since her two crib quilts. It was time. I gave my daughter the choice of a few finished tops I have on hand and she chose my version of Bonnie Hunter's Orca Bay.  If you are familiar with this pattern you may recognize that I cheated and used stripes and plaids in place of the string pieced blocks. This is the quilt that made my mother exclaim, "I could never get to sleep under that quilt!" 
Here it is with the binding half finished. That's where it stands.
I am the world's slowest binder. I have already spent two very long evenings stitching on this binding. People always tell me I will get faster after doing more. Are they kidding? I bound my first quilt in 4-H about 50 years ago. Believe me, I am not getting faster!

I originally named this Sunset Over the Rockies when I first made it way back when, but since it was made entirely from men's thrift store shirts, I renamed it Sunset Over the Men's Department. That is hardly fitting for a little girl's quilt, so it may get a new name--again. I'm still pondering that.

It has been a very long time since I have finished anything larger than a wall hanging with an all-over design of FMQ. I always worry that I will not be able to keep the size of the design consistent throughout. To choose a design one of my go-to sources is this book of Patsy Thompson designs. It isn't really a book, but I made it into one. She has a slew of wonderful designs for free download on her website here.

Years ago, when I was first getting my feet wet in the free motion quilting sea, I participated in the SewCalGal (now QuiltShopGal) Free Motion Quilt challenge and Patsy Thompson was one of our monthly teachers. I felt like some things (feathers, for one) really clicked for me while following her tutorials, so I looked at what else she had to offer on her website and was excited to find her free designs. As I began downloading the pages, I knew I needed to organize them somehow. I created a cover to make sure she got the credit for everything and I had it printed on cardstock and laminated. Then I placed all of the designs between the covers and had the whole thing spiral bound. It is very convenient and helpful to flip through and find a design I want to try.
My attempts never turn out exactly the way hers do, and that's okay. She plants the seed of the idea with her design and as I try to replicate it a new version appears. On my practice piece I realized I was starting the design too small and it would take forever, use more thread, and make a stiffer quilt, so you can see that I shifted to a larger scale.

And speaking of the thread, I chose a salmony orange from Mettler. I prefer Aurifil for less lint and a finer thread, but they didn't have a color anywhere close.
The Mettler color was only available in the smaller spools. I had one and I bought the last four my quilt shop had. It is only a twin size quilt, so I hoped that would be enough. But it wasn't. I had about half of the last border left to quilt when I was totally out of thread. Knowing I would find no more in town, I decided I would just make do. I reached for a spool of orange Aurifil--so much brighter than what I had been using. I picked up the bobbin that was stored with it, but when I saw it in brighter light it wasn't the same color on the bobbin. It was the original Mettler thread I had been using and it was about half full. WooHoo!! The bobbin doesn't fit on the spool pin of my machine, so I hand wound it onto the spool I had just emptied. As I continued quilting the rest of the border I practically held my breath the whole way. I made it, but just barely.

This was quilted on Gidget, my HQ Sweet Sixteen. (Can you see the panda bear fabric I used for backing?) It is the largest thing I have quilted on it since my shoulder surgery two years ago and I could tell my left shoulder tired much more quickly than my right. I need to build up those quilting muscles. There are many larger quilt tops hiding in the closet. :)
I know I have touted the excellence of the Quilter's Select rulers before, but I have to put in another plug. Before stores closed down, I had purchased this ruler, which is for machine quilting. It is thicker than the rulers for rotary cutting, and it has finger holes. The coating on the back made this stay in place for straight line quilting better than ANY OTHER METHOD I have tried--and I have tried them all, from medical tape to sandpaper dots, and everything in between.  Believe me, this is worth it!
I used a stencil and a water erase marker to mark the design in the outer border. After it was quilted, I sprayed it with water to remove the marks. As I placed the quilt in my lap to start binding, I saw something I have never seen before. Not only had the panda fabric on the back done a little bleeding, but the thread had been bleeding, too. Have you ever had that happen?? When I finish the binding I will wash it with some color catchers and see if that helps, but this took me completely by surprise! At least it doesn't show on the front.

Wow, I really detailed you to death on this post, so if you stayed with me, here is the fun part. Today, May 16th, is the actual 9th anniversary of my blog. I have a little thank you giveaway for my loyal readers and friends.  
There is an autographed copy of Pam Buda's new book--Vintage Treasures, a little bowl filler I made from a leftover block when I made a log cabin doll quilt, a Moda design magnetic closure notepad, and one of my new favorite scented candles. They are made from palm wax, cotton wick, and essential oils. They are great and I want to share them.

Leave a comment if you are interested. If you have  commented before and never received a reply from me (I reply to everyone that has an email attached to their account), PLEASE leave your email address in your comment or I have to choose a new name.
On that note, happy blogiversary to me! :)

Drawing now closed!  

Until next time, 
Janet O.

Friday, May 1, 2020

April Monthly Mini

Didn't think I would get one made for April, but here it is, and it all happened on the last day of the month! I'm linking here with Wendy (The Constant Quilter blog) for our monthly minis.
Whoever coined the term "soft quilts for hard times" gets credit for this one (ETA--I believe I read it on Barb's blog, as she mentioned in her comment). I was making a mask (what else?) out of batik scraps from previous masks. I was laying out some 1 1/2" squares and realized I was pulling out all of the soft colors from the leftovers. I was preparing to make rows in the shape I needed in order to cut out the mask shape.

I had so many squares in these soft colors, and that is when it hit me to make a "soft quilt for hard times."
I set the mask making aside and started laying out the squares for a little quilt, using leftovers from the filter pockets in the masks to create the alternate squares. I quickly sewed the rows together, layered it with batting and backing, and drew some feather spines across the surface. You can barely see the lines in the photo above.

Then Gidget and I went to work, and this was the results. It makes me think of the Emily Dickinson poem, "Hope is the thing with feathers." So this little quilt in soft colors, made from remnants of mask making for Covid-19, and quilted with flowing feathers, will symbolize hope to me--hope for times when we can gather with family and friends without fear of infecting someone with a deadly virus. 
I will get the mask that inspired this little quilt made soon--all the parts are ready.

I had already made over 100 cotton masks when my brother challenged me to make a mask for a quilter. This soft colored one-patch is one of three that I am making to meet his challenge.
The one not pictured is strip-pieced in sunset colors. 

 And the first one was made from little thimbles (or tumblers). Can you tell I am smiling? I always find it funny when I am wearing my mask in a store and I smile at someone, then realize they have no idea I am smiling at them. Such is the world in which we now find ourselves.

Finally finished the runner for my brother's dining room table.
I used a stencil to mark the quilting on the blocks, but it wasn't enough. With the densely quilted feathers in the setting triangles, the blocks were poofing up (technical term). I had to go back to the blocks and add a couple more rows of quilting.

After more than two weeks since my last post you would think I could come up with more than this--but I can't, so there you have it. Going to work next on quilting a bed size quilt. Won't that be shocking!

Until next time,
Janet O.