Monday, July 31, 2017

July's Highlights

When I taught, I often experienced a certain ambivalence about the way summer days just flew by. Those fleeting days of summer vacation went far too fast. And now, as a retiree of going on nine years, I find I am experiencing the same feelings as I see the calendar now turned to the final day of July. ~sigh~

This July has been particularly satisfying insofar that I managed three finishes, one of which is finished to the quilted and delivered stage; the others two are flimsies. Those three finishes are what you see across the top of my July collage below.

The middle row showcases one more time the two beautiful versions of 'Elizabeth' that Sharon P. and I made this year; a group of 4 zany Frienzies in the middle of an activity at Pam's house last week; and a stack of sweet corn representing the 24 quarts DH and I worked up for the freezer.

In the bottom row, you see one of the 4 pincushions I've made this month from scraps in the sewing room. Next is an early misty-morning  view of the bike path where DH and I regularly walk. We have worked our way up to 4 miles each morning, from a paltry one mile in the month following my May surgery. The final pic is from Saturday's delightfully relaxing day on the screened porch with several beverages and an engaging book.

I mentioned that I've made 4 pincushions, yet you have not yet seen #4. I made it yesterday afternoon, and it took all of about 20 minutes.

The strips are random widths of scraps and it measures just slightly under 3" square. I have been taking a really easy approach to these, yet I have seen some from others that are intricately pieced. I might have to try one or two of those - just because. *grin*

My brain is busy coming up with a do-able list of goals for August, which I will share in the coming days. Have a great Monday, Peeps!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

A Glorious Sunday

Morning coffee.
I am not about to forget to acknowledge this beautiful weather we are having! For late July, we could be sweltering in heat and humidity - and there has been a fair amount of that this month - but yesterday and today are utter perfection! Gentle breeze, temps in the mid-70s, clear, cloudless blue skies - absolutely ideal.
Midday lemonade.
My Saturday was sublime - for all intents and purposes, I had the house to myself all day, so I enjoyed several cups of coffee on our screened porch before deciding to head upstairs to shower and get to sewing. However, after the shower, I really just wanted to sit on the porch some more!! So I made some lemonade, grabbed a book and read - all day! I finished my book around 9pm, the evening had gotten chilly and my toes were cold; the timer lights had flicked on, but I truly did treat myself to a lazy porch day - talk about heaven!

Reading into the late afternoon and evening.
The book is one my book club read nearly a year ago, A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. Published in 2014, nearly all I've ever heard about it is how wonderful it is, so why I could never find time to read it is beyond me. I knew ahead of time that I would miss the meeting in which this book was discussed, therefore I just laid it aside. I have moved it dozens of times to different tables and even picked it up to read on a few occasions, but for whatever reason, I never got very far.

Maybe I was waiting for a pleasant Saturday in July to sit on the porch with it in my lap?

My Sunday has been just as satisfying, I got up super-early and drove down to Rocky Fork Lake, southeast of Hillsboro (my old stomping grounds) for an 8am church service. The First United Methodist Church of Hillsboro has held weekly church services for campers at the lake for over 40 years - I know this because I used to go when I was in high school. They have a beautiful sanctuary-like spot with rustic benches, an altar, a sound system and quite a few more improvements since I used to go in the 70s. It is called Chapel in the Woods, and gauging by today's crowd, it is quite well-attended. My sister and brother-in-law have been taking my mom each week, and I surprised Mom by showing up today. It opens each spring on Mother's Day and continues through Labor Day.

Now to sewing. I haven't yet shared with you the two little pincushions I made with scraps from the Wishes quilt. I have watched with utter fascination the blog by Amanda Jean - Crazy Mom Quilts - and have seen both her pincushions and Carrie Nelson's, too, on Instagram. OMG! They are works of art, I tell you! So, being the squirrel that I am, I saved those little bits of scraps and knew that as soon as I finished that quilt top, I would for sure be making pincushions. And here are two. I will likely make more.

The top one measures just under 3" - but it isn't truly square. The bottom one is about 3" x 1" and is made like a tube. They are certainly fun, and it is so satisfying to get a little project finished so fast.

For my slow Sunday stitching, I think I will get back to that Lucy Boston block I worked on last week. I have cut quite a few "trial" hexies just to see how things work and I still feel like such a neophyte creating these blocks. I love the look, though, and will continue to hone my skills. Practice makes perfect, I believe I learned a long time ago. Plus, all these audition hexies will have to be used for something.

I'm linking up with that ongoing weekly party, Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts. She's celebrating five years of hosting this party each Sunday! Whoo-hoo!

Hope you are having a glorious day!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Sharon's Second Blue Quilt

I have been really faithful in my posting for the month of July, however I have missed the last two days. Wednesday found us - DH and I - knee-deep in sweet corn. We husked, cut, cooked and froze 12 dozen ears of corn. Whew! That was work. Thankfully, the Mennonite neighbors who grew the corn had done the picking. Then yesterday, when I finally got around to writing a post, our internet was out. Bummer. Oh well, I am here today, and can hopefully hit each day the rest of this month (only 3 days left!).

My dear friend Sharon loves two-color quilts, and most anyone who know her would say that red and white are her favorites. However, knowing her better than most people, I am privy to the fact that blue and white quilts are a very, very close second on her list of faves.

Back in April while at retreat, our mutual friend Terry worked on making the quilt pictured above, and Sharon was smitten by it. I am not surprised in the least that after finishing one blue and white quilt top already this summer, that Sharon is currently making this one, too.

Above is the first of Sharon's blue and white quilts, finished earlier this summer. Now for number two!

Parts stacked neatly on the table.

The assembly line.

Busy hands working on sashing strips.
This is what Sharon worked on Tuesday when she was here to sew. All her 9-patches are made, and she was busy with sashing most of the day. This is a whopper of a quilt. I remember when Terry was making hers, she felt as if she'd never finish. I need to get the details as far as dimensions, name and designer go. I can tell you that the fabric is by Laundry Basket Quilts. I will fill in the blanks when I have them.

I am off today for Frankfort Girls. My little box of hexies is ready to go.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

July UFO - DONE!

Whoa! I am back on track with my goal of finishing UFOs in the month in which they are assigned. I missed out, sadly, on finishing the June UFO - and I still plan to get 'er done - but I went ahead with July and now I can boast a finish. Let's check it out.

This is Wishes - a quilt begun in January of 2014. The Fat Quarter Shop and its accompanying blog Jolly Jabber hosted a quilt-along in which each month quilters were given a block to make along with directions on setting and border. I was all in on this until October of that year, and then I just plopped it all in a tub and stored it away. I think I got busy with Christmas-oriented things, and found that I just had no time to keep up. Here are a few links to read about the progress made previously: January '14; October '14.

Fast forward to January of 2017 when we Frankfort Girls decided to do a UFO-each-month challenge. This came up as my task for July, and now it is done - hooray!

I spent the most aggravating time on doing these borders, made to look like checkerboards. I sewed one on wrong, and you'd have thought I needed to call in a support team because I just could not get the final border to fit properly. Eventually, after nearly wearing out that seam ripper, I did get it right. Whew. It might be a long time before I think to do another checkerboard border.

Here are some additional looks at Wishes. The fabric is an early line by Fig Tree Quilts/Joanna Figueroa and Lisa Quan for Moda called A Day in the Country. I mostly followed the pattern provided. My changes are in the use of cornerstones, the placement of two blocks and the color separation in a block or two. With a sampler quilt, those concerns don't really matter much, and I am pleased with the results.

Now what to do next? I sometimes get that lost feeling when I finish a quilt, as if I will never decide on my next project. This time, however, it is all decided. I must finish the second of this summer's commissions, and then I will truly be free to work on whatever I want.

Hope your day is productive!

I've linked up with Amanda Jean and her Finish It Up Friday party at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Lending a Helping Hand

I am a 4-H alum from the 70s; my kids were active 4-Hers in the 90s. The club the girls belonged to is called Buckskin Stitchers and Mixers, one of the oldest clubs in Ross County, OH. The adviser, Sandy, lives just around the bend from me here in Buckskin Township, and has served as adviser for many years. She called me a couple of weeks ago to see if I would lend a hand as the group is preparing to decorate this year's fair booth. Of course, I said I would. That's part of the 4-H pledge:

"I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
 my heart to greater loyalty, 
my hands to better larger service, 
my health to better living 
for my club, 
my community, my country 
and my world." 
(I googled it; only one word off; not too bad!)

The activity for the meeting was to recycle old blue jeans into bags that would decorate the booth during fair week, but that could later actually be used by the members. Sounded like fun! While the members embellished, a couple other volunteers and I managed construction. Tables were heaped with sequins, ribbons, glue guns, cording, flowers, rick-rack, beads and any other manner of decorative bits one could imagine. It was so much fun watching them collaborate with one another while engaging their imagination and creativity. The pictures show just how artisitic and productive we were. Enjoy!

Have a great Monday, quilting peeps! Hope your hands are busy today!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Slow Stitching on a Sunday Evening

I always look forward to stitching on Sunday evening in part because there is such great programming on PBS. Tonight I can stitch while watching Grantchester. Over the past several years, DH and I have enjoyed quite a number of shows - Wolf Hall, Victoria, Mercy Street, and Poldark to name a few. We are looking forward to the return of Endeavour. If I prepare, I can stitch a few hexagon shapes while watching; otherwise I sit with the iPad in my hands and waste time.

For tonight, I have prepped enough hexies to make most (if not all) of a POTC block. I have it ready to take downstairs in a little box. First I will have to glue a bit, but I still should be able to stitch a good portion, as well.

I will be sure to share the progress in an upcoming post. I am linking to Slow Sunday Stitching; click on Kathy's Quilts to go have a look.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Projects from Claudia

You long-time readers remember the sewing lessons that I gave to a local woman Claudia, and later her friend Denise. Well, both of these quilters have progressed so far and so fast that I am not longer needed for teaching purposes. They have become quite prolific. I hope at some point to get a picture of the quilt Denise entered into the Hillsboro quilt show I attended last week. As I was prohibited from taking pictures, I must acquire a photo some other way.

I can share some things that Claudia has recently finished, as she sends regular emails with updates on her many and varied projects. Let's have a look.

These visors are simply glue-appliqued projects they made, presumably for their many dog shows. Being out in the sun, I am sure a nice visor is a welcome accessory.

These two quilts are called Crumb Quilts - from a pattern I helped Claudia with several months back.

How do you like this long, narrow wall hanging? I am certain we all have wall space that would fit something like this perfectly. Claudia's use of colorful fabric for the butterflies does not surprise me in the least, as I have learned that she is a color-junkie. She does not shy away from color, ever.

That is evident in this herringbone quilt that she made in a class she took at Quilt Beginnings in Columbus. I showed an in-progress picture of it here. She took this quilt and some others down to that little shop in Cynthiana that I wrote about last winter. Mendlebrights is a shop I plan to visit soon, as I have decided that I am going to see about doing those baby quilts I need to finish on her long-arm machine. (I am digressing, but she rents out time on the machine, and since I would like to learn, it seems to make sense.)

While I stitch endlessly on these 4-patch blocks for the border of my Wishes quilt (aka July UFO), I hope you are being productive, as well!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Progress on July UFO

After missing my goal in June of finishing my UFO, I am determined to complete my July UFO. I have finished the final 2 blocks, and later today I am ready to sew borders. I prepped a big pile of 2.5-inch strips to be formed into little units that become a checkerboard-type border. I am chomping at the bit to get started. Here are the last two blocks, November and December. Click here to find additional information on this quilt's background.

I will also have to do a quick fix-it job on that December block. I don't mind that I occasionally lose points on my intersections, but the base of that basket is just too far off. I will definitely be picking it out and fixing little boo-boo.

All of that must wait until this afternoon, however, as this morning I am prepared to head over to Hillsboro to deliver the memory quilt to Shirley. I ended up adding more quilting to it yesterday, and I am much happier with how it looks. Much more 'finished-looking,' I believe. My mom and sister are going along for the delivery, so we will have a nice visit. Then this evening, I have agreed to help my neighbor with a 4-H fair booth project. My neighbor is the 4-H adviser for the club both my girls were in, so when she called a week or so ago for assistance with a booth project, I was happy to help. I will try to get pictures and share with you all the youthful exuberance in a later post.

Have a productive day!
Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Elizabeth's Memories Quilt Finished

It was my hope to share this post with you yesterday, however our internet had other ideas. We have no idea what was going on, but we were in and out of service all day long. What a bother. It wasn't worth waiting through, so I chucked it all together. So we shall try today!

Long-time family friends - and I mean this family and ours go back a couple of generations - asked me earlier this year to make a quilt to honor daughter Elizabeth's 40th birthday. That happened a while back, and the quilt didn't. But it is done now, and I will share today.

I had been dragging my feet on how I would quilt this. (Proof) I have the backs of two nylon cheerleader jackets, the front of one cheerleader top, a baby dress, a squishy doll front, and a pocket to contend with. It was just too much to ask a long-arm quilter to deal with, so I determined that I would do it myself, but how??? Finally, I decided to just quilt in the sashing and borders. It is finished, at last, and it went rather quickly. It certainly won't win any prizes for exceptional workmanship, but I think the owners will be pleased with it.

One of the nylon jacket backs.

The baby dress above the other jacket back.

The cheerleader top above the block with a pocket.
The two keepsakes that will go into the pocket.
The beloved squishy doll and a Bengals shirt.
At this point, my problem-solving brain cells have all been used up for the month, and from here on out I will do only straightforward stuff according to directions provided. No inventing for the foreseeable future. Until I get back to Flag Day Farm, that is. I am creating that out of thin air - aka my brain! (Very thin air, there! Ha!)

Okay, that's all for today, Peeps. I have another t-shirt quilt to get busy on!

I am linking up with Finish It Up Friday -  have a look at some other of this week's finishes.

Happy Quilting, Friends!