Friday, March 31, 2017

March Wrap Up

One fourth of 2017 is in the books at day's end, dear readers. Can you believe it? Time sure flies when quilting, right? Allow me this post to wrap up the month and look ahead to what I hope to accomplish in April.

I feel like I've packed a lot into the month. I had no intention of making a Swoon quilt back on March first, but lo and behold! I have 6 blocks finished, and had really hoped to have all 9 done this month. Alas, the final 3 will have to be the work of April.

I got to attend a workshop featuring Corey Yoder, a Moda fabric designer and pattern designer. That was a super-fun day, and it resulted in a finish that, like Swoon, was not in the month's plans, at all. The little quilt of 30s prints is now finished in big-stitch fashion and I have gained new knowledge about Aurifil thread, 505 Spray Baste, and needle selection. Definitely things a quilter needs to know!

I hosted the Frankfort girls and made a fun little dessert/appetizer that looks like a bird's nest. Easy and not too fussy or time-consuming.

I finished off the March UFO - the small tumbler. Using the gorgeous KF borders makes me very happy about this scrappy tumbler quilt.

Our weather this month was exceedingly warm, and spring flowers popped early. I took a pic of the crocuses, but we also have a good crop of daffodils bobbing their heads, too.

Two baby quilts made their way toward completion. I have one quilt top awaiting quilting, and a second that will be in flimsy stage soon. Both quilts were made from remnants I had right here in my sewing room! Using up remnants also put me in the mood to continue with clearing out "piles" and dealing with other remnants. This is a job that will be ongoing, and won't show immediate results, but I know things are less cluttered and at some point it will have to become noticeable!

Finally, last evening I had the pleasure of having dinner at DD Erin's. She and S-I-L Jeff fixed a lovely meal of steak, sweet potatoes and Caesar salad; a lovely reward after an afternoon appointment in Columbus. Her incredibly handsome kitty Rocky was as entertaining as ever.

Now, what will April bring?? Let's do a mental list:

The April UFO is my # 1 hope-to-get-done quilt: nine-patch strippy. I was so close to finishing it a year ago, and then hit a big-time mistake, or maybe just a minor stumbling block. It was enough to make me just quit, put it all away, and move on to less troublesome activities.

Above is an old picture of NPS (nine-patch strippy). My indecision came from how to deal with that unevenness at the top. Apparently, I just couldn't cope with such decision-making in October of 2016, Maybe this month I will find that excessive brain cells will not be required to make this into a finished quilt top.

Next, I want to finish making the last 3 Swoon blocks and get all 9 of them sewn together into a quilt top.

I want to machine quilt the two baby quilts above. And gift them.

I want to finish off the Antique Delights series that I began this month. I expect at least 2 more installments, maybe 3.

I want to make a Thimbleberries quilt at Canter's Cave Retreat coming up on the 11th-13th. I must cut it out here at home, and then sew-sew-sew while at the retreat.

I want to make a t-shirt quilt for long-time family friend Shirley. That is an absolute must for April.

I have plenty on deck for the new month, right? Bring it on!

I am linking up with Amanda for her Finish It Up Friday linky party.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

More Remnants; Another Baby Quilt

The posts to this blog of late have had a certain theme going through them, have you noticed? I've suddenly been tidying up remnants of previously made quilts and I've had a few baby quilts to make. Here's the latest from my sewing machine.

Ohio State remnants from a lap quilt I made for my mother at Christmastime have now been put to use in a baby quilt.

This new baby is already past 2 months of age; I figure I'd best be getting his quilt made and delivered. (I've never been one to get things done in advance, sadly.) I spent a good while considering what sort of pattern I would create from the remnants, and I've arrived at chevrons.

All day yesterday, while sewing at Terry's I made the units/blocks - 6" squares and laid them out on Terry's bed in a straight set. At the time this satisfied me. But this morning, I have had a new thought: chevrons. I did a chevron layout on an earlier baby quilt (click here to see it). I like the on point layout better than a straight set. Above, I have the chevrons crossing the bed lengthwise. I then moved around some blocks so that the chevrons would cross the quilt width-wise.

This width-wise setting will be what I end up doing. I need to make a few more blocks. (And, yes, I did see that one misplaced block.) The side triangles will be gray. I have several wide pieces of the OSU fabric for a nice, strong border. The back will be the same flannel that I used on Mom's quilt. (click here to see)

I am well on my way to finishing off the baby quilt. Maybe by the weekend I can be done with the top. Then this, too, will be need to be quilted and I intend to do it myself with 505 Spray Baste. (I know this stuff is going to be a huge game-changer for me!) Stay tuned to see all that. I've ordered the spray baste, so will stay busy with other things while waiting for it to arrive.

Linking up with Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts. Take a look; lots of variety!
Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Baby Quilt

Last evening when I finally got around to posting for the day, I looked for the pic/post about the baby quilt I worked on last week. Guess what? I never posted it. Today, I shall remedy that little oversight. Click here to get the backstory (insignificant as it is).

I thought it was finished on Wednesday or Thursday, whatever day it was. Then as I began dealing with what remained of the remnants on Saturday, I had enough fabric to complete one more row - so I did. It was 8x9 rows; now it is 9x9 rows. The great thing about doing this is that I have virtually NO remnants left of this quilt, and what I do have has been used in 4-patch blocks that I will eventually use - someday.

I guess there's one more great thing - my backing still fits. The quilt top measures 41" square. The backing measures 60" x 44". I will have to be cautious about that short side, but I think I can do it. I will be getting some 505 Spray Baste, and there won't be any shifting as I quilt. Plus, the extra on the 60" side will become my binding. *grin*

This quilt is significantly smaller than the first one I made of these fabrics; I hope new baby brother won't be too disappointed. Having "the same, but different" quilts is pretty cool, and I hope the recipients think so, too. I hope to quilt it ASAP.

Linking up with Monday Making!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Scraps Of This and That

I'm afraid my sewing space has been getting a bit out of control lately. I've worked around scraps and piles and tubs and boxes for several weeks; it's getting to me.

So I spent some time Saturday and today putting some order to the chaos. Here are three examples.

This past week I made a baby quilt from remnants. I wrote about it here. Maybe this is what put me in the remnant-using mood. Since I still had bits of these fabrics left, I decided to cut them up into usable sizes. I was able to scrounge together fabrics to add an entire row to what I thought was a finished top. It is 5 inches wider now, the backing will still fit, and I have only what you see below remaining. I can throw these into my box of 4-patch blocks and make future use of them in some scrappy quilt that hasn't even been dreamed up yet.

Do you save the cut-away bits from your flying geese units? I do. From the Swoon blocks I've been making - 6 done, 3 to go!  - I have sewn, pressed and trimmed the HSTs you see above - oh, they look so nice! And what a bonus quilt I will have! These bits of Kaffe Fassett fabrics are too precious to discard.

Last, from the February UFO - the Lorraine quilt - I had a handsome stack of 2.5x5" rectangles of Lorraine and Savonnerie. These have been precariously stacked near my left elbow ever since. Pretty to look at, but they really were in my way. Under my cutting table, where all my tubs are stacked, I pulled out the one labeled American Jane.

Well, well, well. I see possibilities! The scraps here are Breath of Avignon and will work quite nicely with Lorraine and Savonnerie.

From the bottom of the tub.

Before I added my scraps to the tub, I played a little bit with some  options for a future quilt from all these remnants. I have a lot of border prints in the tub, so doing something along the line of this picture is how I might use all those rectangular bits. I could easily get a little quilt, maybe even something lap-size. I didn't play too long; it's all tucked away for another day.

Looking around the room, no one could possibly tell that I have made a dent in the chaos, but I feel pretty good about these 3 little treasures. Now if I can keep this tidying streak going for awhile longer...

Linking up with Oh Scrap! Seems fitting, huh? :D

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Just How Particular Are You?

In making recent projects, it occurred to me that I am becoming more particular about my work. Is this a normal phenomenon for quilters to experience? I used to not care too much about how I pressed my seams, for example. Or, it never concerned me overmuch that intersections might be a tad "off." I rarely pinned, and had the attitude of "good enough" for most things.

No more! I pick out seams that aren't matched, and if I turn under a seam allowance that is supposed to be open, I go back and fix it.

Here's an example of what I mean. This is an intersection of the baby quilt I have worked on this week. I had been very consistently pressing seams open,and I found this folded seam when I got to the ironing board. So I ripped it out and fixed it.

That's a wicked-looking seam ripper, isn't it? I bought it about 10 years ago at a seminar.  I have taken out about 6 stitches, then resewed just that little bit making sure I had all seams open this time.

Now, the seams don't precisely match when I turn to the right side. On some projects, I might re-do this - again, but since this is a baby quilt which will very likely get some rough treatment, I am going to leave it alone; I doubt anyone will notice. (If they do, I will compliment their amazing eyesight!) *grin*

Another thing I have been known to do is piece bits of fabric together to get just one more block. For this baby quilt, I was running low on the two orange fabrics shown above. After I miscut an entire strip, I knew I was in trouble. So I just pieced the fabric back together and proceed as if I'd never cut it at all. I pressed the seams open to ensure it wouldn't be bulky, and I think the results are perfectly acceptable.

Can you see the seams in the 4 parts of the orange block? There are 4 - one in each square. You really have to look for them, and once this is quilted, those seams will be darn-near invisible.

So, yes, I am getting fussier about my work. I hope that's a good thing. If it's not, please don't tell me. I don't want to know.


Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Antique Delights - Part 4

Today's excursion through the antique beauties of Miss Rebecca will feature pieced and patriotic quilts. Miss Rebecca apparently had a soft spot for red, white and blue quilts, and the collection reflects that. Let us begin.

I would call this a rail fence design. We spent a lot of time examining this quilt, but this is the only picture I took - a few close-ups would have been nice. Many of the fabrics appear to be cut from clothes - work shirts, dresses, skirts, blouses, and maybe even underclothes. Studying the fabrics was fascinating. Controlled scrappiness. Very nice. And from a distance, do you notice the "weave" look?

Do you think Union Jack when you see this quilt? I do, for some reason. The only name I can find for a quilt in this pattern is Railroad Crossing, and I found it in two different sources, so that is what we'll go with.

I am trying to figure out the method for making this quilt. Does the block consist of the 4 red triangles separated by white with a navy center square? And then the white around it is the sashing? And the navy squares from the center of the block are repeated as cornerstones? That is the best I can come up with. What a conglomeration of seams at those intersections. I suspect the quilter was saying things under her breath as she tried to work her needle through all those seams.

The next quilt is an interesting study, too, but for a totally different reason. How can some fabrics fade so extensively, while others do not? I think I have an answer.

That red polka-dot fabric has withstood the test of time, and those faded Ohio Stars in each square have not. I am of the opinion that the stars were pieced from previously worn clothes. They may even have sat stacked in a box for a good while, waiting on enough blocks to be made for a quilt. When enough stars had been accumulated, the quilt maker then purchased new fabric - the red dot - for setting the blocks together in quite a unique and graphic setting. It seems very plausible, wouldn't you agree? It is somewhat surprising to think that someone would go to the trouble of creating such a unique setting for stars made of old shirts. However, the longer I consider things, I know that no matter what, some quilters want their work to be eye-catching. If they are going to the trouble of salvaging old fabric and turning it into a usable quilt, then that quilt deserves to be attractive. I can imagine lots of our ancestors working hard to have a few pretty things. In homes that were sometimes less than lavish, their quilts might have been some of the only things of beauty they owned.

I will conclude today with this Log Cabin quilt set in the barn-raising style. Center squares are red; the light fabrics are work shirts while the dark fabrics look like scraps from a sewing basket, or possibly discarded dresses and skirts. I can't say that I've ever seen the center handled the way this one is - with the red outline around the 4 center blocks. I wonder if the quilter just did that, or is this typical of the barn-raising setting of Log Cabins.

I seem to be long on questions and short on answers with the posts in this series. I welcome feedback from anyone who happens to have a theory or a more extensive background.

This is Part 4 in my series called Antique Delights. You can click for previous installments. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Sharon Moved Some Mountains

When the two of us sewed together here on Tuesday, I worked on the 4-patch baby quilt which I described my last two posts. Wait till you see what Sharon worked on!

These gorgeous blocks are the 24 Delectable Mountains for her Elizabeth quilt. They are scrumptious! The pinks in my version are cotton-candy pink, while Sharon's is deeper and dustier. I think it's much more dramatic, actually.

This picture from two weeks ago shows her first Delectable Mountain block, so this week she made the remaining 23. Bit by bit Sharon is closing in on all the parts for Elizabeth and the setting-together will begin. So close.

Next Tuesday, we will be sewing at Terry's house, and Sharon plans to make the 4-patch units and the triangle units. Big blocks; they they will go together quickly.

I'm late getting a blog posted today, folks! I opted to spend the day finishing the scrappy baby quilt over blogging. (Sometimes, ya' just gotta' sew.) The baby quilt is now a flimsy. Whoo-hoo!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Value of Remnants

It is a well-known fact that sewing rooms become quite a repository for leftovers and scraps and whatnot; over time space is at a premium. But we quilters rarely discard these leftovers, for we know that someday there might be a use for them.

I can attest to this, first hand. I dug out some remnants a few days ago for the purpose of making one of two baby quilts on my list. I discovered that I had enough in that neatly-wrapped bundle to make an entire quilt.

This is cause for a happy dance.

If only I'd thought to take a picture of that little bundle of remnants. You'll have to just trust me that they were folded and stacked and tied together. It was like I knew I'd eventually want them. All the fabrics were the leftovers of a baby quilt I made about 2 years ago. That baby, now 2, has a new brother and he will be getting a quilt made of his sister's scraps. Below is Jackie's quilt.

Yesterday while Sharon was here to sew, I made quite a great amount of progress. Even though it was on my list, I really didn't have a clue that this is what I'd accomplish, but I am very happy that I did.

There was a significant amount of trimming and cutting to be done. Then I made as many 4-patches as I could. (Some are pieced to make them work.) My layout creates diagonal rows of color. I am currently chain-piecing the rows. and I hope that this will be a finish very soon. Hooray!

I'm linking up with Let's Bee Social.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Old Dogs DO Learn!

Even with a king-sized quilt finished off in big-stitch quilting, I attended a workshop Saturday on that very topic at Old Town Fabric Shop in Chillicothe. The guest speaker was Corey Yoder of Coriander Quilts, who designs fabric for Moda and creates pattern, as well.

When I did my quilting, I had no prior instruction, nor anyone giving me tips or advice. I just did what I thought made sense as a seasoned quilter. Attending this workshop/seminar would let me see things I ought to have considered, methods I might have tried, and simply dozens and dozens of examples.

The day began with a trunk show, and gosh, for a young woman, Corey sure has finished a LOT of quilts! At her age, I was still mostly just dreaming about making quilts (and buying fabric).

Here is Corey in the upstairs classroom at Old Town Quilt Shop. See the pile of quilts beside her? She has already shared all of those, and I didn't take a single picture. I thought I'd go back later and take a few, but we were just too focused on our mission to allow time for that. *grin*  Everyone in attendance created a circle - albeit loosely formed - and we showed the project we brought and shared ideas for possible big-stitch quilting. Corey was great in this segment of the day, as she has "an eye" for seeing what the resulting quilt will look like. All the sharing was really helpful, making it a wonderful give-and-take for everyone. Sometimes, we end up doing something we had never previously ever considered.

The many expressions of our speaker - what a sweet thing. She was so well-spoken, super supportive and most encouraging. She didn't rush us; she didn't come across as a know-it-all; in fact, I'd invite her over for our next sewing session without a moment's hesitation. Down to earth. Easy-going. Friendly. Personable. That's Corey.

After a 30-minute lunch break, we went to the next room to spread out our work and begin quilting! Corey roamed around, stopping when a quilter needed help or encouragement.  It was very informal and quite comfortable. We chatted as we stitched, and helped one another, too.

I mentioned the lunch break. I can't forget to show you the tremendous feast that Cindy and Kelly prepared for us! My goodness, look at the mountain of fresh fruit! This was truly fresh and delicious! The sandwiches came from an Amish/Mennonite store in the Frankfort area, Old Home Place. Delish!

I said in Saturday's post that I would share what I learned from this seminar. First, let me just say that now I can make the official "quilter's knot." I know! I've been quilting all these years, and never knew how to do this! I learned to make a knot from my mother or grandmother, and I've always continued to do it that way. I am now reformed!

Second, I used 505 Spray Baste. Oh my goodness. This will be life-changing. I dislike stretching a back and batting and layering on the top, and then keeping it taut without wrinkles and puckers. This will make all that so much easier. I can't believe I've come so late to this game.

Third, I generally use whatever needles and thread I have on hand, and since I have all of Grandma's stuff on hand, most is no longer labeled and pretty darned old. I bought 4 spools of Aurifil 12 wt. thread (recommended by Corey) along with a package of #7 embroidery needles. These made quilting very easy, and I finished fast because of it. It helps to use the tools that are designed for the task you are undertaking. I will try to keep the needles together and not let them get lost on a pincushion, never to be properly identified ever again.

I'm sure I learned more, but those are the big ones. Here's a cute, sweet anecdote Corey shared. She told about going back a long lane to her grandmother's house and playing under the quilt frame with her cousins. Her Grandma Lulu (thus the name of the new line of fabric) always quilted, and the children spent many hours there while their mothers all quilted at the frame with Grandma. She said they'd get scolded for flicking the scissors or thread from underneath, and making them hop unexpectedly on top, startling the quilters. I can so envision that orneriness!

Finally, as the day wound down, I shopped. Oh gosh, I just couldn't resist, and you don't get 10% off every day, now do you? The store had a sweet display of Corey's products - patterns and precuts - so I splurged. I only bought fabric; I will figure out my own patterns. If you click on her website, you can see some of what I passed up. Let me tell you, a couple patterns were really calling to me, however my rule of thumb: fabric always trumps patterns. So there.

I hope Old Town continues to do these fun seminars with nationally known designers. I've attended two (my first featured Laurie Simpson of Minick and Simpson) and both have been totally worth it.

Happy Quilting, Friends!