Saturday, February 28, 2015

Long Road Home Update

February is ending and I figured I should do one more post to finish out the month. I have been hand quilting, which makes for precious little interesting material to blog about. The pictures all look the same; the fingers and thumb are sore, so I could whine, but that gets old, too.

I am close to moving it again in the quilting frame, and it occurred to me that I ought to check things out to see just how close I am to finally finishing this seemingly never-ending quilt. Certainly, I ought to be finding myself near the end - it sure seems like it.

Here, I have unfolded the quilted part and stretched it out to see how far I've come. I have to say, it is quite satisfying to see this view. It gives me the 'oomph' I need to keep going.

A couple more views. It is going to look mighty nice finished and spread out on a bed. I like how scrappy I made it. That was something I was not sure of when I was making it; the pattern called for more neutrals. Since I am using from the stash, I opted for more color. I had more color than neutrals, so that drove my decision. It's going to be fine, too. *wink*

The back is interesting, too. I pieced the backing. There is a large dark blue print down the middle, with two lighter blue prints on either side. This trend of piecing the backs is working nicely for those of us who are trying to use from the stash.

My thumb is aching - there is actually a split in the skin, so a few days off from hand quilting will be necessary. In the meantime, I intend to cut out the Snowbird project, finish making the kits I need for the SPARK! class I will begin teaching on Tuesday, and machine quilt a baby quilt for a wee one who is due in mere weeks - mid-March, I think.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Another Finish!

It's just a little quilt, but it's still a finish, and I am happy about that. Yesterday at Terry's, I sandwiched the layers for Mom's wall hanging that I've been working on, and then I quilted it and bound it. And it feels good to have a finish.

Next up is to quilt the baby quilt I made last month, as the due date is approaching. I would have begun it at Terry's but I inadvertently brought the wrong batting. Foiled my plans, daggum'it!  I am continuing to quilt on Long Road Home. And sometime this week, I will be cutting out Snowbird Stars for the March project I have planned with Sharon P.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Border Attached

The choice for the border on Mom's wall hanging was blue. Everyone who chimed in with an opinion agreed. Unanimous!

This little quilt measures 21.34" x 27.25". Mom will likely use it as a wall hanging, but it would also make a pretty table topper or doll quilt.

That's all for today, Peeps! I will be sewing for the day over at Terry's. Perhaps I will have some pretty stuff to show you - if we have a productive day!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, February 23, 2015


I am at the point where decisions need to be made for the outer border on Mom's wall hanging.

Option #1: Brown Thimbleberries

Option #2: Darker Brown

Option #3: Navy Kansas Troubles
The navy option looks brighter than it really is. I don't know why colors don't stay true in pictures.

I sent the options to Mom, and it looks like navy is the winner. If I were making this for myself, that is what I would have chosen, too.

Come on back tomorrow and see the finish!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

C-C-Cold Morning with Frankfort Girls

Friday morning's frigid sunrise.
I know most places around the mid-section and eastern portions of the US have been having some extreme weather lately. Record low temperatures are being reported very deep into the south. So when I whine about the weather, I do so with the full reality that we don't have it as bad as others.

On Friday morning, we Frankfort girls met at Sharon O.'s house. It was -11F when I pulled into her driveway. That was the lowest temperature I'd seen so far this winter for us. We shivered in to Sharon's for some hot coffee and cinnamon goodies.

Sharon had 2 finishes to share.

It looks like Sharon will be ready for a few celebrations with these finishes. Her Christmas table runner is quite large, and will be used on the feast table when family comes during the holidays. The matching birthday banners will go to her sons to be used when the grandkids have birthdays. Each son has 2 children, so rather than make a banner for each grandchild, she thought it best to provide one per family. Smart lady!

Terry and Sheryll worked on the same things they worked on 2 weeks ago. I was back to stitching 9-patch blocks. JoAnn is the smartest of the bunch - she's in Florida again!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Retail Therapy!

It has been a long, long time since I have shopped for fabric. I have been holding onto a gift certificate that DH gave me as a Christmas gift to Old Town Fabrics; yesterday (Friday) seems like a good day to cash it in!

With all the snow we have had this week, and with more falling today, buying a fabric called 'Snowbird' seems fitting. A specific purpose has already been established for this lovely yardage. Sharon P. and I have agreed that we'd both use our Snowbird fabric to make the same quilt - Confetti Stars by Thimbleberries. This is the same pattern that all of our retirement quilts have been made from, so we know it well.

Sharon plans to make her quilt very scrappy, with lots of polka dots. My version will be more orderly, with more florals. Referring to the picture, the navy floral is what I will use as my border. The small-print neutral will be the background for my star blocks. The light blue floral will be the setting triangles, and the beige floral will be the backing. The remaining parts - the stars and the setting squares - will be made with the stash I already had on hand, which I purchased last June after quilt camp.

Our finish date for Snowbird Stars is the end of March. I will definitely share our finishes here. It will be fun to see the differences in our approach to this pattern.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Mom's Wall Hanging

I found the UFO for January, yet I went to work on something I started for Mom. She got the coupon in the Christmas drawing, and I don't want to take forever to get the gift done for her. I started, but haven't worked very diligently on it since. Click here to read about the beginning.

So I sewed some more HSTs, pressed them open, and sewed two together which formed these little units.

The next step was to create rows. Above are all the rows, freshly pressed and matched to an acceptable neighbor. I am making Mom's wall hanging a bit larger than the one shown in the patten.

I definitely have more than I will need. Mom's wall hanging isn't going to be a big thing (unless she wants it big), so I will take what's left over and make one for myself! I still have squares that have yet to be sewn into HSTs, so there are plenty.

This morning I have quilting at Sharon O's. It will be nice to get out to visit; I have not been anywhere this entire week since Sunday.  The weather this week has cancelled both my Monday and Wednesday classes; all meetings I had scheduled were cancelled, too. I don't think DH and I have gotten on each other's nerves too much. *grin*

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Let's Go Exploring

Come! Let's have an adventure!

Many of you know that I participated in a UFO Challenge with the Frankfort Girls in calendar year 2014. And, many of  you also know that we are doing another challenge this calendar year.

Put on your best David Attenborough voice and let's begin.

My January 2015 project (which I never even looked for let alone worked on) has been weighing on my mind. When I finished the February UFO so quickly, it got me to thinking that I really ought not to let myself get so far behind this early in the year.

After forging our way through piles of fabric, boxes, bins, debris and junk, we locate the item we are seeking. Tucked inside this yellow-lidded tub, we have an artifact of unknown age. Carbon dating would help, but far exceeds the budget.

Inside, we discover a true thing of beauty! This project is further along than we'd been expecting. Such good news.

Eighteen already-completed double-9-patch blocks. What treasure! This archaeologist was thinking there were bits to be de-constructed - many, many of them, too. These will do nicely without the bother of  'unsewing.'

Additionally, we have one partial block.
Parts for completing more blocks.
And yardage for finishing. Who would have 'thunk' it? This is a huge boost for my procrastinating nature.

I am glad I was bitten by the Indiana Jones bug. I needed to get this excavation behind me. I am so glad to discover the project is not in the shambles I was expecting. Maybe I can get this back on track before the first of March!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ohio Weather

The folks in the great state of Ohio like to bring out a saying every now and then when describing our weather - if you don't like the weather, wait about 3 hours and it'll change. Unlike places in the sunny south where it's 70 degrees and pleasant most days, Ohio boast some extremely changeable weather.

After a January that was warmer than most, with essentially no snowfall to speak of, we are having a February that is breaking low temperature records. And snow to go with it. The picture above shows this morning's snow activity; it is just as hushed and whispery out as can be. I love how muffled the world is when it snows in the country.

Yesterday (Tuesday) morning we had a beautiful hoarfrost. These are the coolest things; when the frost on the branches glistens in the sunlight, I feel like I'm in a most magical fairy land. Monday gifted us with about 5 inches of snow, and overnight the temperatures took a nosedive. It was -5F at 7am when this picture was taken.

This picture is a wider angle. It shows less of the hoarfrost but more of the snowfall. And is that not a majestic sunrise? I just love living here - I call it my little slice of heaven.

Today, snow is falling again. We are forecast to get several more inches of snow, but worse will be the wind and plummeting temperatures. Tonight will be frigid, and it will last for several days.

We had a guest in the backyard earlier in the week before the snowfall. Mister hawk sat on a low branch surveying the potential goodies. We have a fair amount of chipmunks and field mice, and I'm pretty sure he's scoping them out. We have seen a hawk even closer to the house; earlier this winter one was sitting on top of one of our bird feeders. That's where the chipmunks and field mice hang out, you know, waiting for seeds to drop on the ground.

Well, that's the weather report from my part of the world. Hope you all are staying warm and productive! I will be heading up to the sewing room with a cup of coffee and an audiobook on Overdrive. I shall listen and stitch this morning.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Class Sample

I can finally show you what the participants in the SPARK! class will create if they sign up for the beginning quilting class that I am going to teach. I just finished off the binding this morning. It's not the most perfect thing in the world, but I keep telling myself "it's folk-art; it doesn't have to be perfect." I do plan to make another; perhaps I can clean up some of the imperfections.

This table topper or wall hanging measures 16.25" square. The 9-patches are made with 2.5" squares, and they are set together with 2" sashing strips and squares.

Like I said, I plan to make another one, using either Christmas prints or patriotic colors, and instead of using a template for quilting, I will try straight line quilting through the squares. I took way too long quilting this, and beginners will likely be discouraged. I think straight, diagonal lines will be preferable. Also, I will seek out a sturdier batting, as the scrap I grabbed has left me with a limp table topper, and I would really prefer something with more sturdiness about it.

I suppose that is why we make samples - to work out the unwanted kinks we encounter. Trial and error. These mistakes - or improvements, however one views them - will be useful material to share with my beginning students, too.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Facebook Challenge

I don't know how widely spread it is, but in these parts, quilting friends have been participating in a challenge of sorts on Facebook. I was nominated to share 5 days of quilts by my friend Terry. In addition to posting 5 straight days of quilts, each day I was to nominate a quilting friend to begin the challenge. Theoretically, Facebook would eventually be flooded with gorgeous quilt pictures.

I don't know how "flooded" FB has been, but I did enjoy seeing the quilts that my circle of friends posted, and it was fun for me to sift through my photo files, revisiting quilts from way back.

Now that my 5 days of sharing is over, I thought I'd collect those 5 pics and share them here, too. Many readers of this blog don't have FB, right? Of course, apologies to readers who are FB friends for repeating old material. *wink*

Day 1 - I shared this machine-pieced and hand-quilted beauty. I pieced it maybe 15 years ago. The pattern is by Lynette Jensen of Thimbleberries. My grandmother quilted it for me.

Day 2 - This quilt top has hand-pieced blocks which I sewed together by machine. I will someday get it quilted; probably, I won't hand-quilt it. I call it Stars and Stepping Stones, and I used some of my grandmother's quilts as a guide when I made this.

Day 3 - Because I felt compelled to show quilts that were actually quilted, I decided to show one in the process of being quilted. I am still plugging away on Long Road Home, and  hope to finish it off soon. You'll know the reason why a little further down the page.

Day 4 - I stepped into the 'way-back' machine to come up with this quilt. It is the first quilt I ever made, circa 1988. I hand-pieced not just the blocks but the entire top, as well. Then my grandmother hand-quilted it for me. No sewing machine assistance anywhere on this one!

Day 5 - I shared a more modern quilt on the last day of the challenge. This is 'Erin's Diamonds' and I made it in 2013 after Erin got engaged. She picked the pattern and fabrics from my stash. As soon as I get Long Road Home off the quilt frame, I hope to bring the antique frame of Grandma's up from the basement and put this quilt on it. I will use the 'big-stitch' method of quilting, so it should go quickly.

And so my 5 days of sharing have ended. It was fun, and I chose 5 gals to share who make gorgeous creations. Maybe FB will be flooded with pretty quilts eventually.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day Fun

Dear Husband and I have a special day planned, so there won't by much stitching done. Our daughter and son-in-law invited us to Columbus while his mother is visiting. She flew in yesterday from Minnesota, and we are going to show her the town. The weather is anything but conducive for such site-seeing, but hopefully we won't be out in the elements for long stretches. The wind chill is 15-degrees F right now, and snow is in the forecast. A blustery, bone-chilling day.

Hopefully, all the Valentine's Love will keep us warm! We will cap off the day with early dinner reservations.

Happy Quilting, Lovebirds!

Friday, February 13, 2015

SPARK! Class

That little gig I had last month teaching a basic 9-patch block has led to my being enlisted to teach a real class on quilting to beginners. Whew! Am I up for this? I certainly hope so!

The class I had before was just a little "get-your-feet-wet" sort of thing. I belong to a local organization of women and at each meeting we have a program; January's program was my teaching to make a 9-patch block by hand. Here's the link, if you want to see pictures and read further details.

One member of our organization is also a member of SPARK! Creative Spaces. Now you have heard me mention SPARK! here before - remember when I tried my hand (twice!) at calligraphy and again at painting? This link will refresh your memory of the first time I attended a calligraphy class. They offered a second class in December, and my DD Erin wanted to go, so I went again with her.

The folks at SPARK! asked me to teach quilting; apparently there has been enough express an interest in this that we are moving forward with it. Cool! But that meant I needed to put my thinking cap on and figure out what to teach, what to cover, what to include, and a myriad of other considerations.

My thinking cap seizes up if I tax it too much, so the process has taken me awhile. *wink*

Finally, I have decided the content of the 3-part class; set down all the details on paper; agreed on some dates; and now we are registering participants. It's really going to happen. Yikes.

Here, in a nutshell, is the gist of the course for making a little quilt. I would be quite happy to entertain ideas from you quilters out there of things I ought to be sure to include or mention to my beginning quilters.

The first class (2 hours) will consist of getting 4 blocks completed. We will piece 9-patch blocks. When folks register, they tell me the sort of theme they want, and I prepare the blocks for them. Everything will be cut out ahead of time to eliminate wasting time and wasting fabric. During the time we are stitching, I will talk about things like fabric selection, cutting on the grain, all those basics that one must pick up when starting.

The second class will include adding sashing and borders - still hand piecing. Then we will mark the quilting design on the block, make our quilt sandwiches, pin and put in a frame/hoop for quilting.

The third and last class will be quilting and finishing. Instead of adding a separate binding, I am going to have them use the backing and fold it over to the front to form a binding. My grandmother did that on many, many quilts - and I have, too, for that matter. It isn't so much done today, but for the little quilt we are making, I think it will be fine.

The result will be a square - roughly 16 inches - table topper or wall hanging. 

What I have pictured here is the sample I am finishing for the class - this weekend, I hope, and then I will send a picture of it to the SPARK! people who can distribute it to potential registrants. I will let you all know how it goes. The first class is set for March 3.

Happy Quilting, Friends!