Saturday, May 30, 2015

Off to a Baby Shower

One of my Frienzies is soon to become a first-time Grandma and today I am attending a baby shower for the mother-to-be. Of course, baby will be getting a home-made gift.

The shower invitation indicated that instead of a card attached to each gift, a signed children's book should be used. Isn't that a clever idea? This English teacher and avid reader is all on board with this trend, if that's what it is.

And speaking of clever ideas - I got this from Pinterest. Take cloth diapers and measure the size of the padded part. Cut juvenile print to fit, folding under a quarter-inch or so. Then attach to the cloth diaper with strips of matching ribbon. Voila! A set of burp cloths! I had so much fun making these. I will have to say though for anyone out there who might be somewhat OCD about straightness, evenness and order - cloth diapers are not particularly well made. I think they are made to serve their purpose and the straightness of the stitching and hemming is haphazard at best. So, just go with it; that's what I say.

And now I must find a gift bag and be on my way! Have a great Saturday!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Versatile 9-Patch

I think most regular readers of this blog know that I have a particularly fond relationship with the 9-patch block. I have been hand-stitching them at our Frankfort Girls get-togethers for a long, long time, and I take them with me when I will be on a long car ride, or visiting family. In the spirit of showing just how versatile this block is, I have been thinking about all the ways I've used it in quilts I've made.

This is the quilt I have currently under construction. I am calling it 9-Patch Strippy. All the 9-patches are done by hand. I added the setting triangles by machine. I am now in the process of joining the pieced columns to the plain, also by machine. It is incredibly fast and straightforward. The only thing I am really minding is that I get all the blocks lined up horizontally, which takes some pinning and easing in places.

This 9-patch quilt is made with alternating hourglass blocks. It was fun to do, and went together quite fast. I made top by machine and then I hand-quilted it.

 The two quilts above are the same pattern, 9-Patch Criss Cross by Thimbleberries from the book At Home With Thimbleberries Quilts by Lynette Jensen. It uses an economy block to alternate with the 9-patches. I made the blue one first for my DS and it has been used and laundered many, many times. The one pictured above it is still a flimsy. Notice how the look changes with variations in fabrics and placement. I used 3 fabrics in the blue quilt and 4 fabrics - burgundy, gold, navy and cream - in the newer quilt.

The quilt above is another strippy quilt, but it is made differently from the one at the top of this post. Each 9-patch has been turned into an economy block, and then those blocks are set into columns and lined up with straight seams. The same look is achieved; it's just a different way of getting there. This pattern comes from Pick Four by my blogging friend Sue Abrey. She calls it Antique 9-Patches.

Here is another quilt with hand-pieced 9-patches. I had lots of Kaffe Fassett fabric scraps and joined them with white-on-white to make these blocks. Then I just used another KF fabric in deep blue floral for solid setting squares. Because it was a rather small quilt, I added 3 borders. This is a creation of my very own.

This quilt is one I have just had quilted and am in the process of binding. Each 9-patch block is turned into an economy block with the navy blue. The setting block is an economy block of a blue fern on white with a medium blue surrounding it. Set together alternately and on point, this looks really fantastic. It is a pattern from American Patchwork and Quilting, but heaven only knows how far back.

Here are 2 quilts made alike with pastel solids and creamy white. The setting block is the same creamy white fabric and the result is a series of diagonal chains across the quilt. I purposely set the colors in rows to accentuate the chains. These are both UFOs, as I made them last June at Quilt Camp and have yet to put the borders on.

And finally, I will show you how different the 9-patch looks when the "chain" is made from the light fabric instead of the dark. This is a 2-fabric quilt - blue floral and white paisley. Love it!

So there you have a quick little lesson in the versatility of the 9-patch. I hand piece some of them; I machine piece some of them. However you like, you will find that this basic block can afford many different looks.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day

Traditionally, summer kicks off in the US with Memorial Day Weekend. Most schools are out. Graduations have been happening. Pools are opening. Vacations are beginning.

Lots of people forget, though, that our Memorial Day is meant to honor fallen servicemen and women who sacrificed their lives for our freedoms. Many communities will be holding parades and ceremonies today to pay tribute for those who gave that ultimate sacrifice. Cemeteries  have been spruced up and flags have been erected on the graves of local fallen heroes.

Today is a great day for kicking off summer, but let's remember, too, to thank those who fought for our abundant freedoms.

In my little world, I am reading instead of sewing. The book club book is All the Things We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I am about halfway through it and am eager to get back to it.

It has gotten fantastic reviews, and I can't say that I could argue with any of them. These comments will offer a bit of a mid-way review, and I am not divulging any spoilers. I am engaged in the story, for sure. But at the same time, I am sad because I know that they are in the midst of war, on opposing sides, and their childhoods have been wracked by fear and horrific realities. I am hopeful that the ending will provide a satisfying resolution, and not leave me feeling sad and hopeless.

So until I get this book finished, I am not sewing. And I have so much I could be working on, too. Ah, well . . .

Happy Quilting, Friends!

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!

Added October 24, 2015: I've submitted this quilt (and this post) in the Quilt Festival hosted by Amy's Creative Side, so I thought it would be helpful to provide a link back.

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!