Monday, June 5, 2023

Cobalt Stars Quilted

In attempting to boost my long-arm activity, I pulled a quilt top out of the closet. Many were the options, to be sure, and I considered several.

This blue and white quilt top is one I made in 2021 called Cobalt Stars. The stars chaining across it were inspired by a picture I saw somewhere on the world wide web. I searched several of my books for star patterns and came up with the two featured in this quilt.

I detailed much of this quilt top in this post from November 2021 when I finished it. As I reread my account, I am glad I showed the two individual blocks. I used blues from my stash of Kaffe Fassett fabrics. I had in my stash the white-on-white background, and the two solid blues used in the corner units of the two blocks. One star has polka dot star points, which gives some unity to the design.

So, yes, I pulled this top to put on the Tin Lizzie and set to work quilting it over the weekend.

Do you see that polka dot backing that is rolled on the upper bar? I bought it off a sale table soon after finishing this quilt top specifically to be used for backing this quilt. 

The navy backing fabric brings me to the interesting part of working on this quilt. It was necessary to use a navy bobbin thread and a white upper thread. I had more than a bit of apprehension about this because it would require my tension to be nearly perfect. I didn't want white to show on the back nor navy to show on the top.

And if you've followed my long arm journey for any length of time, you know that tension issues have absolutely plagued me in my attempt to master the long-arm.

Mostly, I did just fine. I am hoping that once I launder the quilt, the crinkling will hide the tell-tale bits that did end up showing through. It's minor, so even if the washing doesn't hide it, the issue won't trouble me.

I decided that I would hand stitch the binding, and I have a good start on that. It's good for evenings when we are watching baseball or a tv show. With only a 60-inch square quilt, it will be quick work.

Perhaps my plan for a year of quilting lots of quilts can be as fruitful as I'd hoped. I have now quilted 3 in the first 5 months; how many in the remaining 7 months?

Happy Quilting, Friends!







Thursday, June 1, 2023

It's June!

Five months down in 2023 already! It boggles the mind to think how fast time flies. And, honestly, the older I get, the faster it flies!

Typically, I love May and hate to see it end, but this past month has been so very odd for us! We - mostly me - have dealt with being under the weather. I had the C-virus for about 10 days, and am still dealing with lingering head congestion. Then I got a serious stomach virus followed by a milder version for DH. At least he avoided coming down with the virus. We've had to avoid family functions as well as other friends' events, since we've all learned to be more mindful of the spread of germs and disease.

So now May is behind us and we hope the 'punies' are, too!

Despite the sickness, we do have some May highlights, so let's take a look.

TOP ROW: Our sweet Cate is now sitting up and beginning to experience solid foods. Doing this in just a diaper proves the easiest clean-up for the parents. Next, I spent a day with the twins helping them with sewing projects - a skirt for Mary Jean and a dress for Anna Rose. And in the very little sewing I managed, I stitched the quilt top from my William Morris economy blocks.

MIDDLE ROW: We had the screened porch enclosed with proper windows and doors, making us very happy homeowners. The front porch has a festive splash of color from geraniums bought at a local greenhouse. And, just for good measure, we'll have another smile from our dear granddaughter. Isn't she beautiful?

 BOTTOM ROW: I found a day late in the month to long arm a months-overdue baby quilt. It is now ready to be gifted. Our sweet girl, her parents, her Auntie Em, and her great-grandma Jeannie (my mom) came for Sunday lunch; a long-overdue nap later in the day found her dreaming sweet dreams on her pink 9-patch quilt. And finally, Sharon and I drove over to Dayton yesterday to visit our dear Frenzie Kay. We took Graeter's Ice Cream - one of Kay's very favorite things!

 

That snapshot of the front porch geraniums prompts me to share these additional pictures of that space. I have had a vintage Ralph Lauren sheet for over a year, all along meaning for it to become cushion covers for the front porch settee. Rather than cut into a perfectly good sheet, I just wrapped the cushions in the sheet, and I think it looks mighty nice, if I do say so myself.



One additional task I hope to complete soon is making a cushion for this brown wicker chair. I've saved foam padding from earlier projects, so my thought is to join those pieces by wrapping batting around them. Then using some pretty floral fabric to cover it. Hopefully, I'll find something suitable in the stash.

The front door is just out of view to the left in that final photo. If you were to come out of that door, to the other side would be the settee and tables that you see in those few earlier pictures.

Now I need to think of what quilting goals to set for myself this month. I really do hope to make long-arming a major part of my June endeavors.

Happy June, Friends! And Happy Quilting, too!



Monday, May 29, 2023

Hello Tin Lizzie

I reacquainted myself with my long arm machine last week. It was a comfortable session, too, as I loaded, quilted, bound and labeled the same quilt without a single snafu.

Admitting to myself that I've done so little quilting this year is something of a hard pill to swallow, as I set long-arming lots of quilts as one of my main goals of the year. Hmm..

But here we are nearly at the end of May and I have just 2 quilted quilts to show for myself. I guess I have to look at being a bit more accountable in the next 7 months, right?

The baby quilt I stitched in January/February while we were in Florida finally needed to be finished - that baby is already 5 months old! My hardest decision was which backing to use; I found a neutral solid in my stash that complimented the muted colors in the front, and they work perfectly together.

My meandering design makes me think of the flight pattern of a bumblebee; I just sorta' whip around all over the place and hope I can fill the spaces as evenly across the quilt as possible.

Baby quilts are so satisfying to do because they are small and are so quickly finished. In about an hour, I had this one done and ready to remove from the machine.

After cutting away all the excess batting and backing, I was able to create my binding strips from the backing leftovers. I love that. It helps reduce the leftover scraps. Lord knows I already have enough scraps! 

Done and ready to gift! Hopefully the little guy and his sweet momma will love on this quilt and wear it out as he grows.

Here's both a review of the fabric I used for the quilt as well as the details on making the blocks.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Updated Screened Porch

Our house is 30 years old (we built it in '92) and through the years we have tried to keep it updated with various improvements. One improvement we have long dreamed about has now been realized - we have enclosed our screened-in porch.

Originally, there was no porch. In the late '90s we added a cement pad and were satisfied with that for a time. 

In '03 we added walls, two doors and screens all around. Perfection! We really loved this space. For 20 years now, we've had our morning coffee out here, enjoyed evening suppers, watched countless sunsets, all the perks of having a screened porch in a secluded, somewhat wooded hideaway.
After a time, we began dreaming of using this space year-round and knew that would be a costly upgrade. Would we be disciplined enough to save for such an improvement? The answer is YES! We now have our 4-season porch and it will be just as enjoyable as ever.

Two new storm doors and 13 windows have now made this porch into an air-tight and bug-proof (we hope!) room that has basically become and extension of our family room. When the weather is pleasant, we will open all the windows and enjoy all of nature's breezes and sounds. When too hot or too cold, we can close the windows and allow the house's heating/cooling to keep the room comfortable. 

The door above leads into the back yard, taking us past the bird feeder and the fountain. Here's what the previous door looked like. It had long outlived its usefulness as a door with all its warped and worn sadness.

With most of the furniture moved out of the way for the workers, we realized just how spacious this porch is. We will continue using the same furniture and upgrade the cushions for now. 

Before; looking into back yard.

During; workers installing windows on back!

Finished!

The next job (we're never done as homeowners, are we?) is to put down a nicer floor. This painted cement floor was done about the same time as the screens went in and the wear is showing. Peeling paint, especially where we walk, is unsightly, but will have to stay for awhile longer.

Porch front door; we enter here from the driveway.

And now a couple of pics with the construction cleaned up and our furniture returned. We did spring for a new, larger rug in the hope of covering some of the floor's unsightliness. Hmmmm, not entirely, but it will do.


So, in the last post I mentioned that DH and I were off to Hocking Hills for a short adventure. Well, friends, sometimes these just don't work out. I got some sort of stomach bug the first night, was indisposed all night long, and we drove home - not even 24 hours into our stay. I have slept most of the last 36 hours, and finally about an hour ago had toast with coffee. We forgot our swimsuits on the deck - the only thing we really got to enjoy at the AirBnB was the hot tub. We had planned a hike and a drive for yesterday, but it just wasn't to be. Here's a pic of the rental - it's a home made out of two storage containers. Small and tight, but I'm sure it has potential for younger guests than us! Ha! We older folks like our creature comforts!

This house was every bit as secluded as it looks. We saw deer and had a virtual symphony of birdsong. It completely epitomizes the feel of Hocking Hills. For anyone interested in renting a storage container home, they are listed on AirBnb. I believe they have five with another in the works.

Happy Quilting, Friends!


Sunday, May 21, 2023

Slow Sunday Stitching

Gonna' have to be short and sweet today, Peeps, as DH and I are preparing to take off for a little Hocking Hills getaway.

I'm taking only one little bit of stitching, and it will be super fast and easy.

This EPP flower will be stitched to the background fabric. I've prepped the background (7" square) by folding for center. Then glue-basted the flower in place.

Why am I working on something never before shared here?

Basically, I am practicing for a bigger job. I made just a few of these awhile back and really never had any particular project in mind for them. I will applique the Grandmother's Flower Garden hexies to plain background fabric, and thought maybe a trial run would be wise.

I've done a couple already and it's pretty easy stuff; no need to be concerned when it comes time to do the GFG hexies.

Back-basting applique is my preferred applique method; I've tried lots of other methods that were not as easy as this.

Joining in on the Slow Sunday Stitching party over at Kathy's Quilts. Pop on in to say hi!


Now we are off for some adventuring!

Happy Quilting, Friends!







Thursday, May 18, 2023

Flitting

My brain just can't seem to maintain focus on anything lately. I seem to flit from project to project. One of these days perhaps I will settle on something. 

 In my defense, I had the dreaded virus last week, and while I wasn't terribly sick or miserable, I do notice that brain fog has lingered. While I quarantined - over a very busy Mother's Day weekend, which all happened without me! - In between naps, I spent a lot of time sitting around dreaming about all the projects I want to make. Very likely, this accounts for my inability to focus on a single project.

As I've most recently shared, I did continue working on Lake Effect, and feel pretty good about how far I've come on it. Click here to see my most recent efforts.

One of the new projects I've recently come up with is one made entirely of flying geese units. Here is the inspiration pic that got me all hyped up - it's from Prairie Quilt Company's Instagram account

 

The springtime freshness of these flying geese blocks just knocks my socks off. After pining for a quilt like this, I remembered a really old "someday" project stored in my quilting room. 

By gosh! Someday is finally here!!

Years - years and years - ago, I bought a yard of this "Foundation By the Yard" - I suppose it was on sale. I am sure I thought I'd use it "someday." Besides this one for flying geese, I have another one for economy blocks.

Yesterday, I cut out one length and began making geese. It's been awhile since I foundation pieced, so I had a bit of relearning to do. Yes, the seam ripper joined the party, but I did eventually get a nice strip of flying geese put together.

I'm still stoked about doing this, so I will attempt another length this afternoon.

Even though this was NOWHERE near my radar of "to-do" quilts, I find that this has a couple of unexpected benefits. First, using the "someday" foundation panel. Second, the geese can be made with my 2.5-inch strips from the scrap basket. Yahoo!

Flitting from project to project isn't so bad, I guess. I always seem to have several WIPs, and more than my share of UFOs. Even so, I love to look at quilts online and dream of all those beauties just waiting to be made. 

I dare not waste a minute and get back into the swing of things around here. 

For those who wondered - DH did not get the virus. We had some exciting remodeling activity going on here at the homestead, and, yes, I was able to maintain my distance from the workers. I will share that soon.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, May 15, 2023

Lake Effect - Making Progress

Perhaps all quilters do this: the avoidance method of problem solving. After 45+/- years of quilting, I have perfected this method.

When I run into a quilting dilemma, I just STOP working on the quilt. I have had ages-old UFOs merely because of some glitch I wasn't prepared to encounter. After a modest amount of time spent stewing over it, I pop in into a tub or bin and whisk it out of sight. 

Eventually, the problematic quilt no longer seems quite as daunting a situation as I'd thought, so I revisit, and - hopefully! - finish the quilt.

This accounts for the lengthy time-out I've taken on Lake Effect. That snafu with the incorrect hexies really twisted me in knots, so I avoided altogether.

I finished adding rows around the center medallion and decided it needed to be laid out on the floor for a complete, full-on assessment of progress. 

It looks as though I am going to need further hexies, wouldn't you say? 

Or, I suppose an alternate option is use narrower borders. Then, rather than make more hexies, I would remove hexies from one area and reattach where needed. 

And the hexie situation is just one dilemma I am working out. The other dilemma - and it seems like a biggie, but maybe it isn't - is getting that outer applique border lined up so that the vines meet on all the corners.

Fortunately, I am not feeling the need to put this in hiding again. I will continue to address this quilt's issues and make attempts at systematically working through them. 

My plan at present: work from the center out. The next step is to trim and press seam allowances on the applique borders and begin stitching them to the inner section. When I come to corners, I will fiddle around with matching vines, leaves and berries as best I can. Then when the outer borders are completed to my satisfaction, I will move on to dealing with the outer hexies.

The quilt pattern calls for this quilt to finish at 66.5" x 73.5" - I don't have to follow that, though, right?

Happy Quilting, Friends!