Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January Round-Up

Yesterday, I indulged in a bit of retail therapy at one of our local quilt shops. You know, when there's a Christmas gift certificate burning a hole in your pocket, you simply must act on it eventually. I think I exercised great restraint for over a whole month, you know?

So, after my classes yesterday, I popped in to Old Town Fabric Shop. Earlier in the month I had scoped out some likely candidates for my stash additions; I had plenty of options, but here's what came home with me. Just 2.5 yards total, and I am a happy, happy gal.

These are half-yard cuts of four Art Gallery fabrics and one Cotton + Steel fabric (the pink). The Art Gallery fabrics are part of a line called Millie Fleur by Bari J. Those blues have appeared in some quilts on my Instagram feed, and I have been totally smitten by them. The pink is from a 2014 line called XOXO from Cotton + Steel Basics designer Rashida Coleman Hale. (I hope I have that all correct!) I do not have a firm idea of what these will be used for, but I am leaning toward a pretty table topper. Stars? Triangles? Churn Dashes? Still considering possibilities...

Now for my January collage. I felt busy all month, but I really don't have a lot to show for my efforts.

So tomorrow, we begin February! I hope I can show more finishes next month!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Family Room Curtains

In keeping with my tendencies to drag out easy tasks forever and ever, I can at last share with you all our family room curtains. These have been up for about a week and a half, and I am just now getting around to sharing. *smh*

This addition changes the feel of the room quite dramatically. I have to say, I am glad of it, too. The wall was empty and needed both the curtains and the wall art to be hung. It feels much more welcoming in this room now.

We couldn't hang the art until the curtains were in place. Isn't that always the way with jobs around the house - they either bring on additional jobs or can't be accomplished until something else is done first.

Anyway, let's have a look at that wall art, for it is very special. Back in June of 1979, we received this counted cross-stitch sampler as a wedding gift from my Aunt Margaret - Maggie, as she was also known. With her untimely passing a year ago, it has gained importance in our home, so I definitely wanted it to be displayed. She was a very special aunt, no doubt about it. I will always treasure this gift from her.

One more job around the house complete, with these curtains hung. So what's next? I would love to replace the furniture in this room, and DH says he is willing to paint that television armoire - I'm thinking shabby chic white?

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Slow Stitching on Lake Effect

A week ago I was in a bit of a quandary about the reds I was planning to use in Lake Effect. My concern was that mine were too intense for the quilt, as it is supposed to have (to me) a very calming waterfall-like feel. I posed the question here on the blog and received some very interesting and much-appreciated responses and suggestions.

One comment was that I hadn't shown a really clear picture of my reds; see below for that. I like that leafy one because I can see leaves floating on a pond or a lake. The other just, well, because.

A different commenter suggested that I take a look at them interspersed with the rest to see how it would look. The picture below does this, and I don't mind it too much, honestly. I will have to use that darker red very, very sparingly, but it will be okay in small doses. I do not think I will be displeased after the fact, and wish I'd used something else.

I have an additional solution, though. After thinking I would add another icy blue to my mix of hexies, and use far fewer of my reds, I remembered that I had a Snowfall Charm Pack - only one - and what on earth else would I do with just one charm pack?!!? (Laurie Simpson used her Snowfall line to make the original quilt.)

Below, I have laid out my reds on top of the Snowfall fabrics, and while the one of mine is pink-red, I still think in very limited use it will be fine in this quilt. I am going to use the Snowfall charm pack to make some more hexies which I will blend into my current collection. Hopefully, it will result in a happy little merge.

I had a bit of time to sew at Terry's on Friday; rather than tote my machine, I just worked on some more hexies. I added some beeswax to my sewing kit (thanks, Terry!) and hopefully this will cut down on the tangling and knotting I was experiencing. That gets to be a drag (pun intended) after the umpteenth time.

Hope you are having a great Sunday! I am linking up with Slow Sunday Stitching!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Finally...My 2018 Goals

Gracious! This month is nearly over (already!), and I have yet to post the sewing and quilting goals I want to accomplish this year. Talk about being remiss. I am reminded of that old phrase "the hurrier I go, the behinder I get." That suits me better than I care to admit.

Early blocks made for Snow Shoo - Item #1 on the list.

A block for item #12 on my list.

A couple of weeks ago, I did sit down to formalize the goals I want to work toward this calendar year. Having a defined list always seems to help me stay on track; I could get so distracted by all the pretty patterns and all the pretty fabrics and all the pretty sew-alongs and all the...well, you get the idea - I am too easily distracted. The list is definitely necessary to help  me maintain my focus.

My current focus is Snow Shoo (shown at the top) - item #1 on the list - and I have not done too much on it this week. Not enough hours in a day, I suppose. With the new semester of school now in full swing, and a book to read for book club, I had distractions that I could not ignore. My little stacks of Shoo Flies and Snowballs are waiting ever so patiently over on the cutting table. I hope to sew on Monday with Sharon, so they won't be ignored too much longer.

Thimbleberries/Retreat Quilt - Item #9

My list contains no UFOs; 2017 had enough of those, so I am backing way, way off. One might think that item #9 is a UFO (cover of book above), but I prefer to reference it as a WIP (work in progress); this is a fine distinction, I know, but it makes sense in my brain. *grin*

Item #10 is also a WIP - I never have 'fessed up about the idiotic mistakes made trying to finish that jelly roll quilt back in September. It's embarrassing...just wait; it's on the list, so it will get done, and I will tell all.

Above is a sample Great Granny Square (item #13) block that I made several years ago. I had come to possess a small amount of vintage feedsack fabrics, and decided this is how I wanted to use them. I have collected a few more vintage pieces and I now have enough to get a quilt top finished. The solids are taken from the collection in my grandmother's items, which seems fitting since we are talking vintage and granny squares (although she detested being referred to as Granny!).

I am gradually getting back on track with things around here! Slow and steady, right?

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Year of Colour

I spelled that word "colour" because the company which created this nifty tool is English. I began seeing some really cool color groupings last weekend on Instagram, so I investigated and found Makelight, "a learning community for makers and doers." After jumping through a few hoops (mostly because I am a bit technology-challenged), I managed to get my year of colour

I am somewhat surprised by this composite of the colors I have used on Instagram - more by what I don't see rather than by what I do see. I expected more blue and green to be present, as I think I post frequent outdoor nature pics along with plenty of blue quilts. Apparently not enough to outshine those reds and pinks and browns, huh?

The Year of Colour tool allowed you to play around with the colors by giving you options to select one color as a focus. Here's what I came up with.

I think this looks quite pretty. I like seeing all the pastels around the edge. I am somewhat surprised that I had that many pastels in my colors, to be honest.

I don't know how to interpret my color results. I think I will try to be more deliberate about using blue and green, and using less brown. Then in another year, I will do this again and compare my 2018 colors to this group from 2017.

I am off today to sew at Terry's. It has been a busy week, so I am just going to sit with Lake Effect hexies in my lap. Stitching a few of those will be calming.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Shoo Fly Update

These Shoo Fly blocks have gotten really boring lately, and I find myself turning to other endeavors to avoid having to finish them. For example, I have cleaned a particularly cluttered corner of my sewing room, and nearly have all the fall-out from that put away in appropriate places. I stitched a quick mini-quilt top (which I will share later this week), using blocks that were already made and only needing the setting blocks cut. I finished and hung the curtains for that downstairs window (also saving for a future post.) This is how one procrastinates finishing a dull job. (I have perfected this to an artform!)

So, about those Shoo Fly blocks...I need 105, if my calculations are correct. At present I have 85. The remaining 20 are very much in the early prep stages, as I have been doing assembly-line piecing to make quicker work of these little buggers. I hope to finish the last 20 off today.

 The picture above shows my growing stack of Shoo Flies. I'm using the little clippies to separate into groups of 10 so I don't have to keep counting to see how many more.

Yesterday I had the last of my birthday celebrations as all three kids met us at Panera Bread in Chillicothe. Emma and Geoffrey come from Athens; Erin and Jeff come from Columbus; Adam joins us as we come from Greenfield making Chillicothe a nice meeting place. It was such a pleasant visit that I just didn't want it to be over.

Since I am determined to finish those Shoo Flies, I will link this post to Monday Making - this will give me incentive to get 'em done.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Lake Effect - A Meager Start

Haven't I been a lazy blogger lately? I had hoped those lazy blogging habits I experienced late last year were temporary, but I seem to still have rather a bad attitude some days about posting. I will try to do better.

Lake Effect, one hexie at a time, is on its way to becoming a reality. I have now stitched for two Friday sessions with the Frankfort Girls, and I like the rhythm that I get into when I am focused on it. Once I have progressed a good bit more on it, I can see myself becoming a bit obsessed. Slow start for now, though.

Does it look like water to you? I have not yet added any red, but the original Minick and Simpson quilt includes it. I think the red I picked might be too intense. As I study theirs, I think I might need to tone mine down some.

Have you seen my project tub yet? I can't remember that I have shared this. I have roughly 550-600 hexies prepped here.

This second picture shows it a bit more clearly. Do the reds look too intense? If those few hexies are interspersed throughout the quilt, will it look okay? I know I should just go with it, but I don't want to do all this work and later regret that my reds are too overpowering.

Well, that's all for today. I am linking up with Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching. She has added a photo challenge involving hoops. So I will go back to an oldie and share it here, just to keep with her theme.

Back in late 2016 I finished Erin's Diamonds in this hoop. I had hand quilted this giant quilt on Grandma's old quilt frame, and used the hoop to do the edges. I still can't believe I made this quilt. Erin finally got to take ownership of it right before the end of December 2016, and she loves it.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

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!