Thursday, February 2, 2023

January Wrap-Up

 I need to keep this wrap-up short and sweet today. We have an early date with a flea market.

TOP ROW: The last of the secret sewing! I have not yet shared this with you all, but I can this coming up this week. I made one more Mondo Bag for Christmas, and for various reasons, did not arrive for it's recipient until very late in January. I am eager to share it, so I will be sure to do so in the coming days. That darling in the center is our love, Cate. This was from the middle of the month when we babysat for a weekend. The final picture is from Shakertown, KY, a restored Shaker village that we visited and toured around on our slow journey to Florida. It was fascinating to walk around the village and into the buildings, reading about their life and lifestyle. For Ohioans, we have Zoar Village, up toward Akron/Canton, if you want a perspective.

MIDDLE ROW: More from the journey south: we drove southwestward to see the Natchez Trace, from just south of Nashville, TN, to Natchez, MS. It was wonderful! Just the kind of traveling we like - no interstate traffic, interesting and often beautiful views of everyday life and small town America. And the History!! Gosh, the historic markers were everywhere! We stopped at many, but not nearly all. The first picture shows a part of the original trail, at a stop near where Meriwether Lewis ended his life. See what I mean about history? This particular stop was marked with a memorial to Lewis. We could walk all around and see the landscape much as it was in the early 1800s, when Andrew Jackson marched troups to Natchez, and President Thomas Jefferson designated the Trace an official route for post service between Nashville and Natchez. It was hugely important to our country's early development. The middle picture is of a remaining cabin - actually considered an inn - from the the early 1800s. The last pic is of my sewing space here at our rental. (And yes, we probably took the most out-of-the-way journey to Florida ever by Ohio snowbirds.)

BOTTOM ROW: Here in Florida, we have observed this gorgeous, vivid rainbow over by Lecanto. We went to dinner with my cousins at a yummy spot called The Freezer - and since we ate outdoors, we had a visitor to our table. DH and I ordered a pound of steamed shrimp fresh off the boat! And finally, a sneak peak at my finished quilt top. I will share that, too, in coming days.

So, now off to the flea market!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Hello February!!

Gosh! It's hard to believe we are into February, don't you think? The winter months always seem like they are going to slog along, but by golly, here we are welcoming February already!

We are about 1/3 of the way through our Florida vacation, and it's certainly gone fast. We selected a suitable area - Inverness  - and we are close to relatives on both my side and DH's side of the family. Our fun is rather low-key by most standards, but we are enjoying our slow, quiet, lazy days here in sunny Florida.

We have been faithful in getting out daily to walk on the Withlacoochee State Trail which goes right through Inverness. It's well-cared for and quite a hot spot for recumbent bikes, regular bikes, and other walkers. 

I have been getting some sewing done, and will bring updates a bit more regularly as we seem to be settling into something of a routine, at last. The January collage will be up next, so come by tomorrow to read about my highlights. 

Here's a sneak peak at the baby quilt I was so eager to work on. I am so glad for that last-minute decision to cut it out and bring it along! It's been so very easy and lots of fun to work on. Pardon all the shadows and the uncropped edges - I didn't to a lick of editing on this photo.

It looks like too much light and dark pink-leaning colors, but blue, yellow and green are well-represented; I will work on better distribution when the blocks are all made. 

Here's to February! Let's make it wonderful!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Sewing In Florida

I've never taken my sewing machine on vacation before. Since we have rented this house for most of a month, I figured it'll be just like home, so I am treating it as such. We spent five days on the road, taking a slow route south, traveling scenic byways, visiting historic sites, and entering states I'd not previously visited.

We arrived here at our rental, moved in and the next morning while hubby slept in, I arranged a space for sewing.

This table is in the screened back porch. The table needed just a short shove across the room to access an electrical outlet; I was ship-shape in no time. I only have a hedge to look at straight ahead, but over to the right is the backyard, and beyond that is the Withlacoochee River. We have access to a canoe, two kayaks, and a paddle boat, but more interesting to me is the business across the road - air boat rides on the river, and nearby Tsala Apopka Lake and Henderson Lake. 

But I digress! The sewing station is set up and ready for action, and as the first day was largely a settle in and get organized sort of day and I am definitely ready to stitch.

This view is from the other end of the table. The size is great for laying out blocks, or in this case, long rows of diamonds. *smile*

My baby quilt parts are nearby, too, and I will work on them first. My plan is to attach all the short rectangles to the center squares. Then I will switch gears and stitch a few of those diamonds.

These diamonds will be placed in total random fashion, and I will lay as much out here on the table as possible. I will need to consult the book to see how many need to be in the longest row. I'm a long way from that point for now, though.

Our vacation is off to a great start. The weather has been cool so far, but I see that the extended forecast includes some 80-degree days!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Baby Quilt Kit

I did indeed get the baby quilt cut out from that sweet little layer cake I had on hand. See this post for particulars.

You just don't know how I was itching to make a couple of blocks. It was sooo tempting. This quilt will make up so fast. Had I not needed to stay focused on packing and prepping for vacation, I would have been at the machine stitching away on these baby blocks.

We are ready to go; had a quick trip to see Cate, our daughters and son-in-law. We are going to have to make that last us for about a month. Not seeing that sweet baby will be such a hardship! They promise to FaceTime with us.

Hope you are having a wonderful Saturday!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, January 20, 2023

A Baby Quilt to Begin the New Year

In 2022, I made and gifted 7 baby quilts - Emery, Boone, Henry, Benjamin, and 3 for Cate. I made 2 more - pink ones - that are still in the flimsy stage. Now, here as we have barely begun 2023, I find that I missed a baby! A new wee lad was born on the 15th (my birthday!) and I hadn't remembered to make him a quilt. His older brother Ben got one, shown below, back in 2020. How I missed making a plan for this baby's quilt, I cannot explain.

New baby Henry (another Henry!) has indeed arrived, and it just so happens that I have a juvenile print layer cake by Emily Winfield Martin for Riley Blake Designs. The line is called The Littlest Family's Big Day and it will make a lovely alternate project for Florida, should my time allow for it.

I had an idea for using 10" blocks, and a couple nights ago I made two test blocks. The fabrics for these samples are from that giant pile I had for all the diamond cutting I did on Tuesday. I am sure this block has been featured in many a layer cake pattern book, but honestly, it doesn't need much explaining. 

Two fabrics for sample blocks.

The thing I love most about this block is that just about all the fabric is used. Only about an inch of waste results. It absolutely kills me to waste fabric from precuts, and this one comes about as close as any I've ever made to using every single bit of the square.


The block measures 9 inches (8.5" finished), so if I make 42 blocks, and create a quilt that is 6 blocks wide x 7 blocks long, then I should end up with a quilt approximately 51"x59". Nice size! We shall see as things develop.

If time permits, I will cut this layer cake and have it ready for sewing once we reach our rental in Florida. I am almost more eager to make this baby quilt than I am to make the diamond quilt.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, January 19, 2023

The Diamonds Are Cut

My diamond-cutting session proved successful. This project is shaping up satisfactorily, I must say. Hopefully, the sewing will go as smoothly as the cutting went.

I was a little worried that my selections ran darker than I desired, so I dug out some yellow and light green to add to the mix. Definitely helps.

Here's my big 'ol stack of diamonds - all 4.5" of them! I do wonder how big this quilt will be! We shall see together!

To see how this quilt will be constructed, you can click back to this post. I was making Erin's Diamonds at the time (2013), and I followed the directions in a Kaffe Fassett book. It's funny re-reading that post. I remember being so intimidated to tackle that quilt, and I also remember being so surprised at the ease of construction. It was actually fun to make, and I trust this one will be just as enjoyable.

I hand quilted Erin's Diamonds, and you can see that 2016 finish by clicking here.

Hope you are having a wonderful Thursday!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Feeling It

Let me begin by showing you why I've been away from my blog for several days. I now have another interest besides quilting. I had my GRANDMA hat on all weekend. *smile* 

We stayed at DD's while they went away for a couple of days. We had the pleasure of Miss Cate's company. What a delightful time. Also demanding and exhausting.

I needed Monday to recover.

Catherine Alice; 11 weeks.

Go ahead and say it - she is the most beautiful baby in the entire world. In the history of babies. Yes. That would be our Cate.

Monday, as I said was recovery day. Tuesday was cutting day. I have a project I want to work on while we are in Florida. The plan is to have it all cut out before leaving.

And that gets me to the title - feeling it. 

How many of you quilters have to be in the mood for a project? Or what do you do when the idea in your head doesn't really end up being as gorgeous as you'd expected? 

Back in the fall after I finished Lil' Orphan Scrappy, I determined that I would use the remaining William Morris prints in a diamond quilt. I further determined that I would cut the diamonds ahead of our month in Florida and work on them while we are away.

I was all set to begin cutting the diamonds yesterday, and piled all the larger pieces on the table.

Bleh. I am just not feeling this at all. There doesn't seem to be enough variety to suit me. I used all the neutral and red pieces from the collection in the quilt above; I am left with blue, brown, gold and black.  Bleh. Double bleh.

So I put it aside. I will think on this pile of leftovers for awhile and revisit later.

Why a diamond quilt? I made one for Cate's mother back in 2016, and it was so  much easier than I expected.

I've wanted to make another diamond quilt and have seen several recently while browsing the internet. One I recalled was on Pinterest made with floral prints. Maybe this would be the way to go instead.

From Pinterest

I have an entire dresser full of fat quarters that I have been collecting since the '80s. Plus yardage. Plus remnants. Plus scraps. Certainly there should be plenty of florals mixed into these fabrics for making a quilt like this. It seemed like a good time to dive into that vast stash and begin creating something beautiful. 

Go for it!

My fabric pull looks a bit on the dark side compared to the inspiration picture, but I am moving forward with it anyway. I did add more yellow after cutting this entire pile. I do not discount the possible need to add even more lighter fabrics as I move on through this project. (Or maybe just use less of the darker colors.)

The diamonds are big, and maybe I've cut far more than I need. I don't have a count. And it's anybody's guess how many I will need. I'm just gonna' wing it - in other words, follow my normal quilt-making method.

Packing for Florida has begun. All this along with the basic sewing needs will be making the trek south. It's hard to project just how much time I will have for stitching, but  I do want to try to make some headway on this quilt.

Happy Quilting, Friends!