Quilting Fun

While I love the satisfaction of finishing a quilt, it isn't the only way to have fun with quilting. Fun also comes from the great outings with girlfriends, shopping expeditions with Grandma, or just sitting in my "thoughtful spot" chair perusing magazines and books. The thrill of the next project waiting just there on the horizon...

Saturday, May 23, 2015

UFO Work

This UFO challenge is really making me get some things done, and I am so glad to be participating. A week ago, I had no idea what I'd do with the stack of hand-pieced 9-patch blocks I'd made and accumulated. But now, I not only have a plan, I have some stitching done on them, and I like how it is all coming together.

When I sewed with Sharon on Tuesday, I made all of these units for setting the blocks on point. I have them stacked in 5 rows because that is how many columns I decided I wanted in this quilt. It will be queen size when finished.

And then I laid the setting column fabric next to the blocks to get a visual of how well this was working together. I like this a lot! I then needed to cut the vertical setting columns. After that I took all the parts to the guest room and - TA-DA!!

Now I just need to get back to the sewing machine. This week has been filled with things other than sewing, I'm afraid. I hosted the Frankfort girls yesterday morning, so I had cleaning to do, and a coffee cake to make. I also have to get a book read for book club which is next Friday. And on top of all that, we had a little scare with Grandma on Wednesday and Thursday. She has bounced back a bit, and is improving, but gosh I was worried. You may have noticed a 2-day absence here, and now you know why. Life is happening!

I am hoping for both some sewing time and some reading time this weekend.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tuesdays With Sharon

Yesterday Sharon was over for a day of sewing, and we really got a lot accomplished. I worked on the May UFO, and Sharon made another Van Gogh wall hanging. You may recall her last one, which I mentioned in this post from a week or so ago. Sharon really is a Van Gogh devotee, so it comes as absolutely no surprise to me that she bought a second panel for a wall in her hallway.

The horizontal panel was not suited to the vertical space Sharon needed to fill. Fortunately, she had a plan - and the fabric necessary to execute that plan.

Adding strips to the top and bottom to extend and frame the panel was the perfect solution. Don't you just love the saturated colors?

She was a very happy quilter by the end of our day together. It is very satisfying to be able to create something lovely as quickly as this. Accomplishments! Who doesn't love how that feels?

Sharon also brought back her blue Kaffe Fassett quilt from several weeks ago. When I last showed it here, it was still in parts. Now she has it all together and it's ready to go to the quilter. She made this for herself, and I say 'good for you!' You deserve to treat yourself every now and then!

 Love those big, gorgeous blooms and the fantastic combination of colors. Throw these colors and Van Gogh's together, and I think you can get a pretty fair idea of how good Sharon is with color. She is not afraid to use it liberally - with amazing impact and appeal.

On a side note, I thought you'd enjoy seeing some of our irises. These are located in our back yard, and my DH has done a fantastic job of creating brilliant pops of color like this all throughout the flower beds. These remind me of the Van Gogh painting, a little bit.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Planning and Auditioning

It is already the 19th of the month, and I have not done a thing with my May UFO. Totally neglected!

Finally yesterday, I got my thinking cap on and decided what I would do with my 9-patches.

Since I have always love strippy quilts, I believe I will use these 9-patches to become parts for a queen-size version.

I sketched out my plan. This calls for four columns of blocks, but I will add a fifth if I have enough fabric. I know I have enough 9-patches! *grin*

After my design was determined, I went on an excusion. We all have heard the term 'dumpster-diving,' I think. Well, in the sewing room with the great stash, I went 'tubster-diving.' I pulled and piled and tested and toyed; auditions were in full swing.

This fabric wins for the long strips between blocks. It is directional, so I will have to mind my cutting.

And the winner for the setting triangles - yes, I want to put the 9-patches on point - I selected this little print. I may have had this piece of fabric for 30 years. I seem to recall buying it to make a little girl a dress back when DD1 was small.

If you use your imagination, you can get an idea of the look with this 'mock-up' of the various elements.

Auditions are completed, so now to get busy! I hope to bring you frequent updates on this UFO. My deadline is May 31st.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Quilting Is Finished!

I am so very happy to tell you that I have finally - FINALLY! - finished my quilting on Long Road Home.

Looks pretty nice on the bed, if I do say so myself. Let's look at some additional views.

I just can't get enough of looking at it! After I finished the quilting late yesterday afternoon, I immediately took it off the frame and headed for the sewing room for a trimming. I decided right then that I wanted to get the binding on, so I dug around and found a fabric that suited me. I cut the strips, stitched them together, pressed them in half, and sewed it to the quilt. I even put a label on it.

I decided that I wanted to hand-stitch the binding, so that will give me something to do in the evenings this week.

Here's a look at the backing. I had to piece two different blue fabrics, and I think it looks decent.

Here is the history on Long Road Home. I first saw this quilt made up when Sheryll showed us her finished top back in February of 2011. I was already working on piecing mine. Click here to see my first mention of it. I finished the piecing at Quilt Camp 2011 when we were still at CHS. It hung in the closet for a good while. I put it in the quilt frame in October of 2012 when I needed a quilt to demonstrate for History Day, the annual fall event of the Greenfield Historical Society. Here is the post on that. Not only did I quilt Long Road Home at the 2012 History Day, but I brought it back for 2013 and 2014, as well! I tell you, this is a long, long road!

I will have to find a different quilt for 2015's History Day, because this baby is DONE! Well, it's quilted. It will be done when I finish up with the binding. Easy-peasy. ;)

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Repairs Needed

That mystery Sunbonnet Sue quilt that I found stored in my guest room was most certainly given to me by my grandmother, although neither of us remembers anything about it. I am making conjectures from this point, just to let you know. I do think I can safely guess the following:

Grandma occasionally took in quilts to repair. She didn't advertise that she would do this, but if people knew she quilted, she was approached from time to time by people hoping to save a family heirloom or some such.

Since I am already certain that Grandma did not make this quilt, I can only guess that she was asked to fix one of the dresses on the quilt - a green one. And I have evidence that will back me up on this.

Tucked inside the bag with the quilt were these pattern pieces and the piece of green fabric. I believe that Grandma was going to fix that shredding dress. Now would she have done this? Would she have picked out all the quilting and removed both the arm and the dress? Or would she have just removed the arm and cover over the old dress? Or would she have had some other plan? With all that quilting across the arm, I think I would prefer covering the old, and just requilt that one part after replacing the arm. It's tricky. I wonder what a professional quilt restorer would recommend?

Pretty little Sues, don't you think? I find that the way each one is quilted is just a bit odd, with all that unquilted space around the bonnet and under the dress.

This little green girl is the only one showing signs of fraying. The other green dresses are made with this same fabric, but they are in good condition.

So even though I know none of the above for certain, I think I am on the right track. I've definitely got a fair number of mysteries surrounding this quilt. Who the quilt originally belonged to is anyone's guess. How long it's been in my possession is a mystery not nearly as old as who made it or who owned it. I suppose this is a screaming example of why every quilt we make needs to have a label attached to it. 

I am late getting a blog up for today. I have finished quilting Long Road Home. Yes, you read that correctly. *smile*  I have sewn the binding on, also. I plan to hand stitch it down. Just because. I will show you all that tomorrow.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

A Discovery

Archaeology has always fascinated me, and I think it's quite possible that I experienced the same feeling of unexpected thrill and excitement that an archaeologist feels when he or she has unearthed an amazing discovery. Under the guest room bed, the one you see in nearly every quilt I photograph for this blog, an old quilt was stored away in a tub, and I do not remember it at all. I don't remember when it was given to me; I don't remember putting it in the storage tub; I don't remember sliding it under the guest bed.

Is this not a beauty!?! I still cannot believe I had a quilt stored under the bed which I'd forgotten about. Mostly, I thought tubs of photographs (from the pre-digital era) were stored there. I was on a mission to find pictures of a particular person that a former student had requested. Instead of finding any such pictures, I found this!

I've removed the lid obviously, but would you not squeal with delight at seeing this peeking at you from the corner?

I studied this quilt a bit and I've determined that my grandmother did not make it. Several details brought me to this conclusion. First, while she did make lots of Sunbonnet Sue quilts, I'd never seen any of hers that were outline stitched with black floss. Second, the quilting design looks nothing like any of the others I've seen on Grandma's quilts. And finally, the quilting stitches are not to her standard of neatness. My grandmother made neat and tidy stitches, and while the quilting on this is very tiny, the stitches are somewhat haphazard.

I took the quilt with me to Grandma's last evening when we visited. Her health has failed so much in the last 6-8 months, and her memory has suffered as well. I hoped that if she saw this quilt she would remember it and tell me who it belonged to and why she'd given it to me. (Based on other items in the tub, I knew it had come from her.) Alas, she couldn't recall it. She did, though, confirm that she hadn't made it, and cited the same things I mentioned above - the outlining and the quilting - as different from her own.

This quilter-turned-archaeologist has some lingering questions, and I fear that the answers will never come. In tomorrow's post, I will show you some of the other things I uncovered in this "dig."

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, May 15, 2015

A Finished Quilt Top

In January of last year, I was feeling all full of hope and optimism for the new year. I generally experience this every January. The promise of a fresh start in a new year does get to me. In 2014, in particular, I started lots of projects - projects of the significantly sizable variety. That said, it should come to no surprise to anyone that several of these projects are as yet unfinished a full year-and-nearly-a-half later.

One of those several started projects has at last become a finished quilt top. Tell It To The Stars was a quilt along I started with Judy over at her blog Patchwork Times. It seemed simple enough. I just needed to make 2 star blocks every month. Well, that was until June. Then things got a bit more involved. There were 6 setting blocks in July. Then those infernal pieced corner triangles came along for August. And September had more pieced triangles for the sides. By the time I got to October and the sashing strips I was done for.

I decided that I'd been avoiding this for long enough, so I got myself in gear this week and finally, it is completed!

I am still planning to have another finish to share with you on Sunday. I have been steadily quilting on Long Road Home. With some very tender fingers, the goal is still on track. *wink*

Happy Quilting, Friends!