Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A Call for Help

No emergencies here, so don't worry. The help I need is in the form of suggestions. I am scheduled to be the speaker at a quilt guild in May. (I know!! Me??!!?)  I am considering all the myriad topics on which a quilter can focus - there are lots!!  I do expect that I will be getting some direction from the meeting planners, and as it's still quite early, I am not too worried about it.

Since my current sewing involves making more Shoo Fly and Snowball blocks, and you all have seen plenty of that here already, and since this is the sort of thing I think about as I stitch, I thought it would be interesting to see what my quilting readers like to hear/learn/see when someone comes to a guild meeting to speak.

(NOTE: Because blogs are all about pictures, and so far this has none, I interspersed pics of four quilts I made soon after retiring.)

Here are my ideas for the May speaking engagement:

1. Having just finished a year of UFO completions, I thought I could take each one of them (they've all been shared here on the blog) and talk about that project in greater detail.

2. Take quilt tops from my closet that I've finished since retiring and do something like a trunk show of quilt tops.

My first quilt top of retirement - Snowflakes at Dusk.

3. Take a load of boxes of my grandmother's sewing/quilting things, most of which are still boxed as she had them, and "explore" the contents.

A kit, which I rarely buy, called Americana Rose.

4. Teach something - I don't think I know anything more than most quilters; I am open to ideas here; I don't have a specialty, to my knowledge.

A controlled scrappy quilt - Sorrento.

5. Talk about blogging. I am by no means a rock star blogger like some gals are, but I do try to be consistent and provide content that I think will be of interest.

My first QAL with Humble Quilts called Cheddar and Crackers.

6. What else?? Am I missing something obvious??

To extend my query a bit further, I will join some linky parties - Let's Bee Social and WIP.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, January 15, 2018

An Unearthed Treasure

Gracious! The things one can find in her sewing room! I have been digging around, sorting and straightening, and in the process, I found one of Grandma's projects that I did not know I had.

Several years before she died, I spent a few days helping her clean out her sewing things. She had a little bedroom where it was all stored, and I'd helped her over the years to organize and condense it. Grandma was a super-organized lady, and I was merely the laborer in getting the job done. I wrote about bringing home the stuff from under the guest bed, and later about the stuff from her closet.

Well, in one of those boxes that was all embroidery, I really hadn't sifted through it very thoroughly. For whatever reason last week, I found myself opening a box and I discovered a little treasure.

Very neatly wrapped in a protective plastic bag, I found all the parts necessary for a Flower of the Month embroidered quilt. I will let the pictures tell the story. Some months are completed, one is partially finished, and four are untouched.

This is the partially finished block. I am concerned about the way the transfer ink has bled and faded. All the remaining blocks have been transferred to the fabric and the ink is in the same shape. I could use some advice on whether or not this will be easily washed out, or if I should redo these remaining blocks.

Yes, I am considering finishing this. In case I finish the EPP project Lake Effect, I have this needlework waiting on standby.

The patterns are all here, neatly organized in the envelop in which they came. Not being too familiar with embroidery patterns, I am assuming I could reapply the patterns and get a transfer that isn't so smeared. Again, any advice more experienced embroidery stitchers have is totally welcome.

A bonus find in amongst these items is this list of colors that Grandma had written. It tickles me so to see evidence of her neat and orderly activity. She totally had her act together!

Today is my birthday! Google reminded me when I logged on earlier - isn't that scary when your computer is sending you birthday greetings?? I saved the image.

I called Mom yesterday to ask her what she was doing 61 years ago at 5pm on January 14. She said she was just getting off work! I had no idea she worked right up until the day I was born. She said it was so very cold, and Dad had trouble keeping the pipes from freezing - barns and house. Of course, those were the days when women had week-long hospital stays after giving birth, so Dad was left to do everything. I imagine that both sets of parents offered assistance, as they all lived relatively close. It was interesting to hear about it; I 'd never thought to ask before.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Making Curtains

Not all my sewing is quilting. Last month DH and I finally made a decision about drapery fabric and bought some over in Waynesville, OH, at Fabric Shack. It had to be ordered, and it came in just before Christmas. I knew I'd never get to it before the holidays, and there was really no great rush. I mean, we took the old curtains down a full year ago, and have gone without all this time. It would wait another month. (We live in a remote area on a good-sized property; going w/out curtains has been no big deal. Concern for privacy is not an issue!)

It might be hard to tell that this is navy, but it is. Giant buffalo checks. It really looks good, and this home dec fabric is a dream to stitch on! I am simply doing the most basic window treatment ever - two panels with a plain casing at the top and a hem at the bottom.

The DH and the DS were kind enough to hold the rod up for  me to see where my hem should be marked. This was as far as they could reach, but it will go all the way to the ceiling and fall to just touching the floor. This room has just this one window; on the left wall behind DS Adam is a French door to the screened porch. This is a long, narrow room that attaches to the dining area and kitchen - a great room concept.

I will snap a picture of the completed project - soon, I hope. DH will attach the hardware for me, and we are considering a different rod than what is shown in the photo above. A trip to the hardware store is not out of the question.

It is worth mentioning that Ohio had quite a weather event over the last 24 hours. The temperature yesterday morning was 51 with rain, rain, rain. All day the temps dropped and the wind picked up. By 6pm, the temperature had fallen to 32 and the rain had become sleet and ice. By 7pm, snow was falling. This morning the temperature was 13 with 6 inches of snow on the ground! Wind chill was minus 3. Brrr! C-c-c-cold! Gotta love Ohio weather!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Bonus Quilt On the Horizon

A few days ago, I wrote about saving the cut away triangles from the Snowball blocks I am making with the intent of using them in some future, as yet-to-be-determined quilt. Today, I can report that I have a plan.

Friendship Star blocks have always appealed to me - actually, I love most star blocks - and these little 4.5" cuties will look wonderful in a quilt! I will stitch them with wild abandon, not concerning myself with matching blues, and go for a totally scrappy blue bonus quilt.

Just imagine what 105 little blue stars with neutral alternate blocks will look like. Enchanting! Why 105? Because that is how many Snowball blocks I will need for Snow Shoo, my current project.

This bonus quilt is gonna be so worth the extra time spent sewing now for the rewards I will reap later. Good philosophy!

Linking today with Needle and Thread Thursday.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

First Flimsy Finish for 2018

In the hustle and bustle of Christmas sewing and activities, I ignored a very pretty WIP on my design wall. After finishing the last UFO of the year, I felt a strong desire to just play for awhile, so I pulled out the tub of Roman Holiday remnants and made the center portion of a mini-quilt using HSTs. Fun! 

Then I put it on the design wall, played around a bit with potential borders, but really just left it alone for about 3 weeks. My focus turned to other projects and necessary things - Christmas prepping!!

I came to my senses yesterday, pieced those reds together and attached the border. Easy as can be and OH. I. LOVE. IT!! Won't this be a pretty table topper for decorating next Christmas??

My tub of RH remnants should look emptier, but I still have quite a bit to work with. Can't wait to see what I come up with next!

I will link up today with Silly Mama Quilts for her WIP linky party.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Snowball Block and a Bonus

In the process of making Snow Shoo, I discovered that with each of the Snowball blocks I would have four identical cut-away corners that could be saved and used in some future blue and white beauty. Maybe you'd like to see my process.

For one snowball block, I begin with a 6.5" neutral square and four 2.5" navy squares. I place the navy squares on the corners of the neutral square, right sides together. Normally, one would then stitch and flip. To save some time later, I am making the extra effort now to go ahead and stitch those cut-away parts into an HST. See the picture below.

Since the corners are lined up and already under the presser foot, I figure I can take the extra few seconds to sew that extra line. I work hard to be consistent in my stitching so that all cut-away HSTs will be the same size.

I cut between the two stitched lines, and put the small triangles aside for future use. I press the Snowball corners out. The small HSTs come out to just a tad under 2" - a very usable size.

The Snow Shoo quilt I am making will require over 100 Snowball blocks, so I should have 400 little HSTs when I am finished. And, yes, I do  have a plan taking shape for them. I will play around with them a bit and let you know all about it soon.

I am joining Linky Tuesday over at Free Motion by the River.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Sewing With Kids

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to take my machine and some supplies to Mom's, where I met my 10-year-old nieces for a bit of sewing. The plan for the day was to make a flannel pillowcase.

First we drove over to WalMart so they could pick their fabrics. This took longer than actually making them. Too many decisions!! Eventually, each girl selected a main fabric, a cuff fabric and an accent fabric. In actuality, the choices were limited; I'd hate to think how long it would have taken if we'd gone to a proper quilt shop for flannel!!

I followed a Missouri Star Quilt Company video for measurements and sewing directions. For each cut of fabric, I got a bit extra so the girls would have some remnants to play with. They were glad about that.

Here's a photo story of our fun few hours of sewing. They watched while I cut all the fabrics to the correct size, and helped with pinning. They liked the metaphor of rolling up the end into a "burrito" and were glad to help with that part, too.

Both girls were quite intent as they stitched, working so very hard to follow the line on the machine to end up with a straight seam. We had a bit of curviness, but mostly, they did great.

Anna Rose unrolls her "burrito."

And she seems very pleased with her work!

Mary Jean works at unrolling her "burrito."

Here is MJ turning her finished pillowcase right side out.
Success! Satisfied smiles and warm, flannel pillowcases.

The girls are progressing quite well with their sewing. We have had 3 or 4 sessions together, and they continue to show improvement. Most of all, they want to learn, which makes all the difference.

I am linking today with Monday Making.

Happy Quilting, Friends!