Wednesday, August 31, 2022

August Monthly Mini and Churn Dash SAL

I might just be able to sneak this under the wire before the clock strikes midnight. Here is my August monthly mini, for the mini making mayhem over with Wendy, The Constant Quilter.

This was from a pattern by Sheryl at Temecula Quilt Company. It is called Independence Day, and she released the free pattern on July 4th. I cut it out and sewed the top that very week, but I have been slower than molasses in January at getting this quilted and bound. Obviously not in time for summer, but just in time for Labor Day (after which I take down all the patriotic decor).

In this photo you might be able to tell that I machine quilted around all the red in the pieced blocks. Then I hand quilted diagonal lines through the navy squares, using a dark blue quilting thread. 

If you would like to make one of these little quilts, you will find the free pattern download in the Temecula Quilt Company post here. You know, you aren't limited to making it in red/white/blue. Fall colors or Christmas colors would be fun, too.

If you'd like to make it, go to the link above and download the pattern, and then leave a comment below if you would be interested in a die-cut kit to make this top in red/white/blue. I have an extra kit and would be happy to send it to someone.

Next up is Chooky's Churn Dash SAL. I am just as pleased as punch that I have been keeping up with this. That is a rarity for me.

These are all the 9" blocks so far--including my two attempts at a triple churn dash block, with teeny 1" centers. I MIGHT try making one more of those, somewhere in the remaining dozen blocks. And then again, I might not. ;)

Hubby and I are prepping for our first ever cruise. I have never really wanted to go on a cruise, but hubby has. So if I am going to go, the destination would be Alaska--which it is. We are going with 8 friends from our community, and I am surprised at how much I am looking forward to it. I will be crossing a few things off my bucket list. I am signed up for shore excursions where I will be kayaking, zip lining (I do not like heights, but I am determined to power through this), snorkeling, and riding a gondola. I can't get a single soul in our group to snorkeling with me (they all think it will be too cold), but I am going anyway.  

That is all for now. 

Until next time, be creative, and be kind!

Janet O.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Belated BOM and Miniaturizing a Churn Dash

Last year Barbara Brackman offered a BOM called Hands All Around. This SAL focused on Louisa May Alcott and her family. How could I not join in? But after Mom's passing in July of 2021, I just didn't pick this up again--until this July, when I did the August block for last year. Have I confused you yet? This month I did last year's September block.  Here is what I have so far.

These are 8" blocks, and I am making two each month. I choose the fabrics I need for my first block, and after getting it cut out, I rethink the block with the same fabrics, but mixing up their placement--maybe changing the value placement altogether, maybe not. Just whatever I feel like doing at the time. Next block in the lineup is a doozy. I am trying to decide if I will do it as written, or switch it up somehow. Maybe I will make the last two blocks first, while I ponder what to do with #10.

Surprisingly, I am keeping up well with Chooky's Churn Dash SAL--in spite of boo-boos like the one above. (Please tell me you've done this before.) But since adding the double churn dash blocks into the mix, I have been toying with the idea of a triple churn dash block. Since my blocks finish at 9", that means the double churn dash finishes at 3", and a triple churn dash would have to  finish at 1"! Do you know how hard it is to divide a 1" square into a 3x3 grid--when there are no markers on any rulers for 1/3"? Well, I tried one block. The tiny 1" block in the center is pretty wonky. So I tried again.

This time the center block came out a bit more balanced, but still not great. This photo also gives you a better size perspective. I think it is easier to make a 3/4" churn dash, as crazy as that may sound.

The next step is putting this in the center of the 3" block. To me this seemed to enhance the wonkiness.

I'll be back next week with the finished block, and a photo of all the blocks so far.
There will also be the usual monthly mini, assuming I get it bound.

That's all the quiltiness for now. 
Find someone that can use your help or friendship, and you will feel better, too.
Until next time,
Janet O.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Monthly Mini and Churn Dash progress

Just a bitty thing (5"x7") made from some tiny leftovers after cutting up a bunch of 30s repro fabrics.  I bound it in yellow and named it "A Little Bit of Sunshine". 

It is is machine quilted with diagonal lines that form tilted rectangles. The photo below shows the quilting better, and gives you a better size perspective.

Linking up with Wendy (The Constant Quilter blog), where you can check out the other mini makers and what they have created this month.

Here is my progress on Chooky's Churn Dash SAL. I haven't decided yet if I am going with 41 or 50 blocks, but I am on track for 50 with these 25 blocks at the halfway mark.
These are 9" blocks, so the little churn dash centers of some blocks are 3". There are 42 official participants in this SAL--you can find them all in a link list on Chooky's sidebar. And there are several others who are making churn dash quilts with the group "unofficially".

We just returned from our annual family reunion/campout. We reserve a large, private campsite and my siblings and our posterity are invited. We had 55 participate this year, but the little intruder we found in a banana my hubby had hung in our camp, was definitely not invited. Do you think he thought he was camouflaged? Click to enlarge for the full effect.

Don't want to leave you with that photo, so I'll leave you with this one.
These clouds are over the eastern mountains, but this is the sunset, not the sunrise--the colors were just reflecting clear across the valley.

So much going on in this world of ours, it can leave your head spinning. Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay kind.
Until next time,
Janet O.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

A Tsunami, a Festival, and Baptist Fans

I saw an intriguing quilt recently on Deonn Stott's blog, "Quiltscapes". Such a clever name for the quilt--Tsunami: A Giant Storm at Sea. And that is exactly what it is: a giant version of the beloved quilt pattern, Storm at Sea. You can see many variations of this quilt on Deonn's blog here. (The red/white/blue version would be great for Quilts of Valor.)

And here is my progress so far. These blocks are huge--the smallest block is the lavender/purple square-in-a-square. It is 8 1/2" unfinished. I've made quilts smaller than that!!  You will notice that only three blocks combine to make the entire quilt, and create the illusion of curves with only straight edges being sewn. Don't you love that in a quilt?

I am using Grunge "Seeing Stars" fabric line for this creation. So out of my wheelhouse. I was going to use batiks, but when I went fabric shopping with a friend last week, I realized none of the shops we were visiting carried batiks. So when I saw the colors I was hoping to find were all in this line, I snatched them up.
Eight years ago I foundation pieced a mini Storm at Sea quilt. Just yesterday, as I walked past the yardstick gallery outside my sewing room door where that mini hangs, I realized something. The colors I used then are exactly the colors I chose for this quilt--without consciously choosing to copy it.

Crazy, isn't it? I guess my mind goes to those colors when I think of a storm at sea.

And to get an idea of the size difference between these two projects, here they are on the design wall together.

Sorry for the poor lighting on this. This little quilt pretty much matches the size of the smallest block in Tsunami. 

So if you have always wanted to make a Storm at Sea quilt, but are not sure you would have the patience for all those little pieces, and diamond shapes, this may be the way to go.

Missouri Star Quilt Company has a tutorial for making the blocks, and they have partnered with Deonn to make a template to cut those diamonds. The pattern comes with a paper template, but I bought the template from MSQC, and I am not sorry. The links for the digital pattern, printed pattern, tutorial, and the acrylic template are all in Deonn's post linked in the first paragraph of this post.

You can see the template in this photo, with all of the fabric cut and ready to sew. Very easy to cut everything for this quilt.

On Thursday I had the opportunity to spend just a few hours at the Salt Lake City International Quilt Festival. I really enjoyed the large number of vintage quilts on display. There was a section of red/green quilts for a "Christmas In July" display. Another display titled "Out of the Blue" was almost entirely vintage blue and white quilts. And there was a display called "Pieces of the Past", that included a wide range of vintage quilts. There were several other displays, and I enjoyed them all, but those three were my favorites.

But the highlight of the festival for me was the opportunity to meet another blogger. Barbara Black (My Joyful Journey blog) works in the Education Office for the Quilt Festival, whether in Salt Lake City, Houston, or wherever they are. I was able to stop in, grab a hug, and chat for a while before going to enjoy the festival. It was such a treat!

Barbara was binding a quilt (Blueberry Hill) she had shared on her blog recently.

She has been teaching quilt making for many years, and is a concise, thorough teacher. She even teaches on cruises. This is the info on her next one. She also does teaching videos for The Quilt Show's BOM. I am in awe of her many talents!

I will be adding this meet-up to the tab above named accordingly (Blogger meet-ups).

On the actual quilting front, I am finally getting around to quilting the half-log cabin quilt I assembled after having shoulder surgery a few years back. I am using Barb's large Baptist Fan stencil. I had my quilt basted by my longarm quilter, and then I mark one row at a time using the stencil and a pounce pad. That way the marks haven't all rubbed away before I get to them.

Don't look too closely at the two rows I have already quilted. There is a multitude of wobbles and bobbles. I've had the stencil for a long time, but this is the first time I've used it. 

I'm quilting this on my HandiQuilter Sweet 16. No, I don't usually let the quilt hang down over the table as I work. I keep it rolled up in front of me. But when I stepped away to take the photo, it unrolled.

I am practicing the Baptist Fans on this quilt, because I want to use them on my Circa 1880 quilt, but I didn't want that to be the first time I had tried quilting that Baptist Fan pattern.

More glorious sunsets recently. Here is one of them.

I should be back in a week for the monthly mini post and a check in with Chooky's Churn Dash SAL (thanks for the spontaneous Zoom today, Chooky).

Until then, be creative, and be kind!

Janet O.

Friday, July 1, 2022

June's Monthly Mini and Chooky's Churn Dash SAL

If I hadn't been dealing with COVID this week, I might have had this finished and posted on time. Here is my June Monthly Mini,  joining the other Miniacs with Wendy, The Constant Quilter. Check them out!

Back in April I made the center of this from leftovers of my version of Gay Bomers' Heartfelt pattern. I  couldn't decide--border, or no border? Since then I had given up on a border and had even cut the batting and was trying to choose what to use for backing. That was when I happened across the floral print stripe on a visit to Village Dry Goods. It is a Nancy Gere design, and I just had to have some, but I didn't have anything in mind for it. Back at home, as I looked at the quilt top, and then at the striped print, it just seemed to click--they belonged together. The leftover purple strips I used to border the stripe were not long enough to enable me to attempt mitered corners (not sure I'm sad about that--haven't done one of those in so long). So I used some leftover 9-patches, and surrounded them with a dark purple leftover, and trimmed the blocks to fill the corners. Then I machine quilted the whole thing, and squirted it well with water and let it air dry to give it more of a crinkled, vintage look.

The colors in the quilt seemed to be in harmony with the floribunda roses currently blooming in my garden. That is a purple rose in the center of the bouquet, but when it is in bud, it looks more red.

Aside from being late to post my monthly mini, I am also late on my monthly check-in for Chooky's Churn Dash SAL. I have not yet decided how many blocks I will have in my quilt, or how they will be set. I also have no idea how many "Double" blocks I will include. But I have 50 blocks cut--just in case. And 16 of those blocks are made, and shown below.

I have always loved Churn Dash quilts and have made several--but nothing larger than a baby quilt. So I am excited to make one large enough to cover a bed. 

It was fun to catch a bit of a Zoom with Chooky today. Just what I needed after a week of isolation. Always fascinating to see what we end up discussing, besides quilting, of course.

Sunsets lately have often been stunning. I'll leave you with one over the farmyard.
Until next time, be creative, and be kind.

Janet O.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

A 25-Year-Old Finish, Flange Binding, and Chooky's Churn Dash SAL

Wyoming Valley Star is finished! Here it is on the deck off our family room.

Twenty-five years in the making, it was begun in 1997. I didn't finish the top until January of 2000. I had no sewing room, and not even a dining table to take over. I had to go to the trouble of setting up a table in the middle of the living room, and packing it all away when the family wanted their space back. That was a real deterrent to getting things finished. I wonder what I can use as an excuse now?

This is our youngest grandson, Ben. He just had a birthday on June 1st, and this was what I made for him. I didn't get a photo of the whole quilt, but here it is folded in half and laying over Ben. You get the idea.

Among other things, Ben loves Thomas The Train. I ordered this "Thomas" Fabric on Etsy, and had planned to cut out the squares with the trains and make them the center of blocks for a quilt. But our spur-of-the-moment trip to Oregon shortened the time I had to work on this project. So I just attached a couple of borders to the yardage, pin basted it, and did meander quilting over the center of the quilt. On the photos below you can see the quilting in the borders, and my first attempt at doing the flange binding I keep reading about. On the right you see the backing fabric. Ben also likes monkeys, and I found this great  monkey flannel on clearance at Village Dry Goods. Perfect!

A word about flange binding--I am really happy with this first attempt. When I have finished bindings by machine in the past, I was never pleased with the results. But I am so slow at hand binding, that when I was in a pinch, or when I knew a quilt was going to see a lot of wash-and-wear, I would grudgingly machine bind. This time around I had both of those issues involved. 

I have read so much about flange binding, and have seen such good results others have achieved, that I decided now was the time to give it a go. First stop was the tutorial by Jenny at MSQC. I felt empowered after watching, and was certain I could do this, but I watched a couple of other videos and then looked up a couple of written tutorials. If you like instructions you can print out and refer to, Sew Fresh Quilts has good photo illustrations. 

Then, fully armed, I went to work. The only thing I did differently was cutting the pieces each 1/8th inch narrower than instructed. I prefer to make my bindings slim, and the instructions create a wider binding than I wanted. I am not unhappy with the finish, but I think next time I may make the two strips each 1/4" narrower. It really is a clever method (who thinks of these things??). It is fussier prep than a regular binding, but then being able to get a classy looking finish in so much less time than a hand finish, it can be just the method you need at times.

I am keeping up (so far) with Chooky's Churn Dash SAL, making 41 9" blocks. I will be making 10 blocks a month for 3 months, but one month will be 11 blocks--I think this will be that  month. 

Chooky shared some
double churn dash blocks
she was making, and I couldn't resist trying one. The Churn Dash in the center finishes at 3". I was tempted to try and fit a 1" churn dash in the center of it (mini madness), but talked myself off that ledge--for now. I do like the double block, and think I will make a few more and sprinkle them in the quilt.

As to the giveaway for my 11 year blog anniversary, I chose a random number with a number generator, and it landed on Elaine Adair! Congrats, Elaine! I know I sent you some squares for your I Spy quilts not too long ago, but I can't find your address for the life of me. Please email it to me again, and I will get your winnings sent off to you! I discovered Elaine's blog just a few months after I started blogging 11 years ago. She makes great quilts. Check her out at the link above.

Recently hubby and I have enjoyed spending some time on our deck, using an app on his phone to identify the bird sounds that are a constant around us. So many varieties, and it is fun to be able to identify them, even if we can't see them among the leaves. This photo of a Eurasian collared dove was taken about a month ago. This honey locust tree is now leafy, and photos are harder to capture.                                          
I hope you are able to find some quiet time doing something that fills you--whether it is quilting, walks in your neighborhood, curling up with a good book, relaxing with family or friends, or just resting with your feet up. Times are stressful. Take care of yourself.

Until next time, be creative and be kind.
Janet O.

Can't leave you without sharing this lovely sunset from an evening walk last week.

Monday, May 30, 2022

Vintage Block Challenge/Monthly Mini

Last fall I signed up for Lori's (Humble Quilts Blog) Vintage Block Challenge (Click on this link to see what others did for the challenge). We were to take a vintage block and either use it "as is" to make a quilt, or deconstruct it and use the parts to make something, adding other fabrics if needed. I dragged my feet at first, but the temptation was too great. This is the vintage "block"  I received from Lori to use in the challenge.

Wonderful colors, but overall, it looked better from the front than it did from the back. It was machine stitched, but there were so many tension issues on the reverse side, along with uneven seam allowances, and really chunky seam intersections. Oh, I love a good challenge!

So I unpicked the whole thing, and gave the pieces a very gentle bath. Below they are shown after drying.

I wanted them to maintain the "aged" look, so I didn't do anything to dramatically whiten the background pieces. I cut all of these triangle pieces in half, so that instead of having 2 large stars, I could make 4 small ones. And in homage to the original, I purposefully placed one of the purple star points going the wrong direction.

Within the star blocks, all but two of the "white" squares and two of the "white" triangles are original fabric. They all would have been original if I had not wasted some of the fabric by cutting my first set of the 9 cornerstones just a bit too small. The sashing, binding, and backing are all 1930s repro fabrics from my stash.

I had hoped to hand quilt it, but a last minute trip to Oregon, and a deadline on a grandson's birthday quilt precluded that. I just did a lot of ditch stitching. And for those same reasons that I did not hand quilt this, this must also be my May Monthly Mini, with Wendy The Constant Quilter

This was a very fun challenge. Thank you to Lori for the opportunity to participate.
In case you are wondering, stay tuned for my next post where I will announce the blog anniversary giveaway winner.

Until next time,
be creative and be kind!
Janet O.

Rainbows are a symbol of hope to me, and Sunday night there was a complete bow in the sky here. We need hope more than ever right now! Please excuse the power lines--I was afraid that if I took the time to run downstairs to get a shot without them, by that time the colors would have become dull, or be completely gone.

Upon closer inspection, I saw something different about this rainbow. I zoomed in as close as my iPhone Mini would go, and you can see a little stem coming from the side of the rainbow.
Interesting--I've never seen anything like that before. Have you?

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Eleven years, and counting!

Monday, the 16th of this month, was the eleventh anniversary of my blog.  All week I had been meaning to get a post written, but things always got in the way. So I'm finally getting to it.

First I want to show you what I have been doing recently, besides binding the Wyoming Valley Star quilt. On May 10th I took a Zoom class with Lori DeJarnatt (Humble Quilts Blog). She taught us the machine appliqué method she used in creating her Blue Baskets quilt that is in the current issue of American Patchwork and Quilting. Even though I am not a fan of doing appliqué, this wasn't too bad. Who knows, I might even do it again someday! This is what I created with my basket blocks.

The dark fabric over the upper right corner was what I used for the cornerstones, and I am thinking it may be the binding, too. I wanted this to have a feminine, almost Victorian feel. I want to do a mix of hand and machine quilting on this, but with all the binding I am doing lately, I don't seem to have much time for other handwork. 

Last year I signed up for Lori's Antique Block Challenge. I am at the binding stage with my piece. The deadline is May 30th. I will be in Oregon a few days between now and then, so I need to get that finished up. This is what I received for the basis of my creation. It was machine stitched, but the tension was so poor in places, it is a miracle it was staying together.

I did deconstruct the block, and at the end of the month you will see what came of it. I had fun with this challenge.

In Chooky's last Zoom marathon the idea of a Churn Dash SAL was presented. I wasn't online at that time, but read about it later on Chooky's blog. This was my "No joining SALs" year--I was so weak about such things last year!  Can you see where this is going? Of course, I caved. I can't resist Churn Dash blocks. I decided to see if they will work as my leader/enders. The other day I pulled out the AccuQuilt dies needed to create 9" churn dash blocks (they seem huge--I make quilts smaller than that!), and I now have over half of my blocks cut, bagged, and in a basket by my machine. I made up the first one just to show you. 
I am doing them each in one color, but scrappy--so far I have just pulled fabrics from my scrap baskets. But there may not be "scraps" left in the baskets to cut more pieces this large, so I may have to move to FQs for the other blocks.

Now, as to the anniversary, I usually do a giveaway on such an occasion.This is my way of saying thanks for the years of community and friendship I have felt through blogging. Until just this year I have never belonged to a guild, and you have been my way of feeling connected to the quilting world. I cherish the friendships made here. So, there are two bars of my herbal soap, a small pincushion I made (wandering geese pattern) that will fit well in a take-along project box or bag--it is 1 1/2"x3"x1", a box of my favorite extra fine pins, a 4 1/2" square Quilters Select ruler (I LOVE these rulers), and a small Dresden ruler. It says it makes a 9" block, so it isn't really that small. I actually don't mind appliquéing Dresden blocks to their backgrounds--all the edges are finished. :)
Sorry--not trying to be mean, but I barely have time to keep up with blogging, and don't have time to hunt people down. If I can't respond directly to your comment, or find your email within your comment, you will not be included in the giveaway.

On a more upbeat note, did you see the lunar eclipse last Sunday night? It looks pretty dramatic when it comes up over the mountains. The photos don't do it justice, but I tried.

As the eclipse became full, the moon turned orange. My real camera and my phone camera struggled to capture it. My real camera couldn't get enough light to capture the color, and my phone camera got too much and made it bright and blurry, but 
at least you can tell it is orange.

I have always loved sights in the heavens, getting up in the middle of the night (or jut staying up) to view Northern Lights, meteor showers, eclipses, etc. But hubby hasn't usually been too interested. Ever since we traveled north a few years ago to see the total solar eclipse, he has shown a little more enthusiasm. And with this lunar eclipse he was the one calling to me to come see, and encouraging me to get photos. It was fun.

This was longer than I thought it would be. One of these days I am going to actually do a short post. I think I did one, once. ;)

Until next time, be creative and be kind!
Janet O.

p.s. You will find a new tab on my "pages" below my header photo. As I was thinking back on my 11 years of blogging, I was reflecting on the many bloggers I have met, and decided to make a record. You can find the link here as well. If you are a blogger, and we have met, you should find yourself there. 

Drawing Now Closed