Friday, July 31, 2020

July Monthly Mini

Look at me--posting my monthly mini before midnight on the last day of the month! I will be linking up with Wendy, our fearless (cheer)leader, at The Constant Quilter blog.
This month's mini came together mostly from leftover units and scraps kindly donated by Kevin at Kevin the Quilter blog.I did dig around a bit in my own scraps to come up with the sashing, border, and binding, but no actual yardage was harmed in the making of this quilt. It finished up at just over 13" square.
In my last post I received a comment from Lady Locust saying this made her think of Neapolitan ice cream. I liked that idea, so I am naming it Neapolitan. And with our temps reaching 100 these days, I could use a scoop of that about now.
This was finished with what I like to call "hybrid quilting". I used machine quilting for all of the stitch-in-the-ditch, and for the quilting in the outer border. Then I hand quilted down the center of each narrow sashing piece, and diagonally through the 4-patch blocks. I felt it needed a bit more, so I did echo quilting in the neutral triangles. You can see the quilting better in the photos below. You can also see very clearly that I drew no lines to follow on the hand quilting. I eye-balled it--so let's call it organic quilting. :)
Do you ever mix machine and hand quilting on the same piece? I have done it many times on my minis, but never on a large quilt. On the back you can see the machine quilting more clearly. And I see a space I missed. Can you spot it?
It is good to have an excuse to sew something fun in these monthly minis, since mask  making continues to consume most of my sewing time. Have now made over 300. Anyone need a mask? LOL

I have notified those whose names were drawn to receive the bag of HSTs (Dortha), magazines (Liz and Barb V.), and the stencil (Robin). As so often happens, several of those I originally drew have no email linked to their name, so I had to draw again (and again).

We have been trying to have dinner on our deck most evenings. This is what I captured there the other night--the video quality isn't the best, but listen to the birds, and watch the swallows swoop. You might want to expand the video screen to see the birds better.

Find something around you that makes you smile.
Until next time,
Janet O. 

RANT: At the risk of changing the mood and ending on a downer, I spent 3 hours last night in the new blogger trying to create this post. This is not my first rodeo--I have used the new blogger on the two previous posts with minimal inconvenience and adapting. Last night as I typed, the letters would appear slowly, one at a time, taking a couple of minutes for one sentence to show up after I had typed it. A paragraph could take 10 minutes to materialize. Photos would actually drag and drop this time (which they wouldn't on my last post), but resizing didn't always work. One photo was so huge it covered most of my post. It wouldn't resize. When I finally deleted just that photo and tried to preview the post, the preview wouldn't load--even when I went away and came back later to see if it was completed. I finally cut my post short and hit publish, only to have half of my words--in random places--not appear, and only a couple of photos show up. I deleted the whole post and walked away. Tried again this morning and saw things were much the same. Just to get this posted without tearing out my hair, I reverted to "Legacy Blogger." I am hoping these are all just glitches and won't be regular occurrences. Even Legacy Blogger was a bit touchy, but nothing like my trial with new blogger last night. Anyone else have a similar experience?

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Twenty-two years in the making!

I began stitching the hexagon flowers for this quilt exactly 22 years ago next week! I know that because back then I was a volunteer for "The Festival of the American West" in our valley, and that is where I was taught English Paper Piecing.
This just came back from the quilter and I love what she did with it.  

I told her I wanted it to look like someone had hand quilted it, and I believe she got the feel I was looking for. In the photo above right you can get a better idea of the quilting, and on the left you can see the fun floral backing I used.
I cut the binding today. I will get it attached and start sewing it down within the next couple of days. So happy to see this finally getting completed.
Fun Fact: Monday I was watching an old movie "The More The Merrier" (starring Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea) while I made more masks. It is an old rom/com about the housing shortage in Washington D.C. during WWII. I happened to be glancing up at the screen just as they were showing an apartment building lobby filled with people on makeshift beds and one of the men had a quilt this same style over his. For just a second I wished the film was in color so I could see what one of these looked like in the 40s.

Yes, I did mention there that I was sewing more masks. Now that more and more stores are requiring them, and we are being told when school resumes in the fall kids will need to wear masks, I figure there is still a need. Have distributed more than 200, have 50 more made and ready to share, and another 50 or so are cut out waiting to be stitched. I don't enjoy changing thread colors, so I select a few masks that could all look good with the same color of top-stitching, and I make those masks assembly line style. When they are made I choose another thread color and sew whatever masks I have cut out that look good with that thread. You can see the super hero masks are at the top of the pile.

My good quilting buddy, Kevin H., sent me a bag a scraps and leftover parts earlier this summer. I started playing with them and making plans for a small quilt almost immediately. I incorporated many of the "parts", like the 4-patches and the HSTs.
The top has been finished and basted for weeks, but I haven't started the quilting yet. Thanks, Kevin, for a fun diversion from my self-imposed focus on UFOs. This may turn out to be my July monthly mini once it is quilted.

I was on my evening walk one night last week when a quilting friend called to me from her yard. She had just finished assembling a top using a bunch of Lori Holt fabrics with a few other fabrics mixed in. There were a lot of bonus triangles leftover and at first she thought she would do something with them, but after beginning to press and trim a few, she decided they were smaller than she wanted to use. Many of them would finish around 2", or a little smaller. She asked if I knew anyone who would want them, and I told her I could probably find someone. So here they are--they pretty well fill a 1 qt. zipper bag. They would make a cute little quilt in happy fabrics. If you want them, say so in your comment.

Speaking of little quilts, another blog friend sent me some copies of that great classic magazine, "Miniature Quilts." I already had 2 or 3 of them, so if you are interested in those, let me know. Thanks for the magazines, Randy!

Finally, one of my favorite border designs to quilt is the rope. I wanted to use it on the sashing for "The Beast," but I didn't have a stencil for it that was big enough, and I didn't want to freehand it on a king size quilt. I get most of my stencils from Quilt Creations International. I already have this stencil in 3 sizes from them, but I checked to see if they had any larger sizes. They had a 2 1/2" listed, which isn't much larger than the 2" I already have, but it was just large enough. I ordered it, but when it arrived it was only 2". Turns out they had mislabeled it on their website and in their catalog and no one else had caught it. They decided that it was a popular enough design that it wouldn't hurt to make it in 2 1/2", which they promptly sent me in just over a week. So now I have an extra 2" size. Anyone interested?

Enough housecleaning. I hope you are all finding things that give you joy in the midst of all this craziness. Whether it is quilting to your heart's content, peace and quiet in a daily devotional, tending to living things in your garden, curling up with a good book and losing yourself in another time or place, sipping a wonderful lemon peach herb tea (it really is yummy) as you enjoy a sunrise or sunset, or baking up a storm--maybe you are lucky enough to have family in your "bubble" and you get to hug grandkids--whatever your source of comfort and normalcy, I hope you are staying safe and not letting it all get you down. We will get through this!

Until next time (when I'd better have a monthly mini ready),
Janet O.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

JUNE monthly mini, etc.

I did have this almost finished in June, but the binding didn't happen until July. But here you have it. Linking with Wendy (theconstantquilter blog) for our monthly minis. Thanks for keeping us motivated, Wendy.
This is a very simple, straightforward little piece. Ten inches square with 4-patches finishing at 1". I had a bunch of little bits of red and blue binding pieces left by one of my machines over time, and there were many little red and blue strips in my scrap basket. I had been using these as leader/enders for a while, creating little 4-patch blocks. The muslin squares are from the backs cut out of the Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks after I appliqued them onto the muslin background. Everything came from one scrap basket or another. I usually make a patriotic mini in June for our family reunion auction, but that was canceled due to Covid19. I guess old habits die hard.

The quilting on this is all straight line done on my domestic machine. I thought about quilting something in the white, but opted to leave them empty and just quilt around the 4-patches and the borders.

We went camping for a few days last month and I took along the project-that-never-ends, otherwise known as Stars in the Garden, from a back issue of Primitive Quilts and Projects.
Who knows, it may get done in my lifetime yet. I think when I get the two center flowers finished I might start assembling what I have so far in order to keep me feeling motivated. That feeling comes and goes every year or two.

We celebrated our 42nd anniversary in June. Since we can't do many of our usual celebratory options, we visited a nearby migratory bird refuge and then got milkshakes. I wish I had taken my real camera. The photos I captured on my phone don't do justice to what we saw, but this was one of my favorites.

Back in April I dipped my toe into the mask-making pool (after having said I wasn't going to make masks), and at one point I thought I was done with it. But as our area has had a surge of new cases, I have made more than I ever thought I would. Have sewn and distributed 190 masks to date, and have orders for about 10 more at present. I don't charge for them, but when people find out I am making them I get inquiries.
This is what is currently in the works, with another pile of fabrics ready to be cut.
I think the color and pattern of fabric people choose tells me something about their personality. It is interesting.

My quilting and blogging time always decreases when there is yard work to be done. Add to that Mom's needs and mask making, and I have really been lax with the blog. May not be changing soon, but I will do my best to keep in touch.

Until next time,
Keep your hands clean and your face covered,
Janet O.