Monday, April 30, 2018

April Round-Up and An Instagram Lesson

Here we are at the final day of April, and I have prepared a collage to corral all my activities for the waning month.

In the top row is my finished mini-quilt using the swap blocks shared with the friends in the Frankfort group. Next is the lovely FQ pack of dainty calicoes purchased online, followed by the fixed and finished Jelly Roll quilt that I attempted (and screwed up royally) back in September.

In the middle row I have two pictures that feature treasures from a box of fabric and linens from my mother. The embroidered pillow cases were a wedding gift to my parents in 1956, and I made the table cloth from a generous length of sturdy fabric buried down in the box. The final picture in the middle row are the newly-recovered barstools using remnants of the family room curtain fabric.

The bottom row shows the pincushions I gifted to the retreat participants, the finished Thimbleberries quilt begun at the '17 retreat, and my DH, as he approaches the finish line of the Cap City Half Marathon in Columbus. This race was Saturday, and he did so well for not having run competitively in about 35 years. It was quite an accomplishment!

Now, I am going to digress a bit, and talk about making these photo collages. There are many iPhone apps out there that will make collages, but the one I most often use is simply called Layout. It is compatible with Instagram, which I find myself using with increasing frequency. More often than not, I use the 3x3 option because it reminds me of the 9-patch block I love to make. Perfect for the quilter, you know.

Over the past few weeks, I have been seeing many collages on Instagram that look like the one above - the quilter is pictured in the center and is surrounded by examples of her work. It accompanied the hashtag (#) quiltvsquilter. The hashtag was created by an Australian quilter names Cat - her IG name is tincatsew.  She started a quilter's version of one that artists had going called #artvsartist. So the #quiltvsquilter is a way to see the quilter behind the quilt. Most often, we see the quilts but have no idea of the people who made them. Mine, above, features some of my most recent finishes - mostly from the year of the UFO, along with some others that I could quickly access.

I still consider myself to be a novice at the whole 'hashtag-IG-tagging-following' business, but one interesting phenomenon occurred after I posted the collage above with the quiltvsquilter hashtag. Before I knew it, I had over 100 "likes" - by gosh, I think the previous high might be 25. I mean, really, I have very little interaction of this sort with my IG posts. Now, I don't do it for the likes, but I admit, it feels nice to get them! My main reason for Instagramming is that I like to look at quilt pictures! I find quilters with similar styles to mine and follow them. Sometimes, they follow me back. The only way to be followed back is to post pictures. I admit to being gratified when a quilter likes something I have posted; it validates that what you are making is appealing to others, not just yourself.

Well, I have certainly rambled on a bit, haven't I? Like I said, all this new technology is fun, but the learning curve is wide - and getting wider all the time for this old gal.

Hope your April has been great, now let's make May even better!!
Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Treasures From Mom

A couple of weeks ago, I dropped in at Mom's to check out what she had been sorting through in an effort to donate to her church's annual rummage sale. There were many pretty things, and I think Mom was second-guessing about donating some items. I brought a few things home with me - an old shelf that needs a new paint job, a wine-carrying box, and a box of old fabric and linens.

Yes, those dry goods certainly came to live with me. And oh, what treasures we found buried in that box! Family heirlooms, honestly! Let's take a look, shall we?

The most exciting finds in my opinion were these embroidered pillow cases. The one shown above is a singleton - its matching MR is long gone, heaven only knows where. This case was used and has the softest-feeling cotton ever. Even after all it's wear and laundering, though, the embroidery work is still in remarkably good condition, so dainty and sweet.

A complete pair of MR and MRS pillow cases were also in the box, and these were never used. Mom remembers that they were a wedding gift to her and Dad from her Aunt Alberta, known in the family for being quite a skilled seamstress. Alberta was the oldest sister of my Grandma, Mom's mom, of whom I have written frequently here on the blog.

By contrast, since these have not been used or laundered, the fabric still feels brand new. It is stiffer and sturdier. And, sadly, portions have discolored and stained. I will have to do some research to see if the condition can be restored. I would imagine that experts know how to treat such issues. I might search for YouTube videos (that's where to find all the answers).

The MR case is in somewhat better shape than its mate. Just look at those fresh, crisp colors.

And here is the MRS, looking a bit rough around the edges despite her lack of service. The fold at the top is yellowed, and those dots above and below the basket are brown. From what, I have not a clue.

I am fascinated by these works of art. I would love to know who made the first case. I wonder if people still do gifts like this for brides these days. I did not get any when we were married almost 39 years ago. I don't think our daughter got any, either, in 2014. So, I am curious about that as a gifting tradition.

How shall I use these? Should I create a display? Put them in a frame? Hang them on a rack? I will think on it for a time, but I definitely do not want to stuff them back into that box for another 60 years.

And speaking of the box, I have only shown you the linens in this post. Earlier, you saw the fabric that I turned into a table cloth. Still, there are interesting random fabrics I have not shared. Most notably, there are some stiff canvas-type pieces that seem to have quite a story to tell. Also, there are quite a few scraps from some of Mom's sewing projects. And, table cloths for card tables - these were made by Grandma and used when they had guests for card-playing. Card table cloths were a thing, from the looks of it. I have 3 or 4 from this box to share.

I will save all that for another day. I hope you are enjoying this beautiful Sunday!

I am linking with Kathy at Slow Sunday Stitching since this post features slow stitching of my ancestors.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Retreat Pincushions

Those gals I spent last week with at the Canter's Cave retreat are a super-generous bunch, and we were showered with goodies of all shapes and sizes. My meager offering was a batch of mini-pincushions made over the past several months.

I  have come to be quite obsessive about throwing away scraps. This has been a result of following various quilters on Instagram and blogs who make the tiniest pieces of scraps into cute little pincushions. I tried a few last summer, and have continued to add more through the fall and winter. I finally had accumulated enough that I needed to unload a few, so using them as gifts for retreat participants seemed like a worthwhile effort.

Each pincushion bears a remarkable resemblance to projects I have worked on in the past six months or so. Uncanny how that works. *grin*

I bought a big batch of crushed pecan shells which is the substance used for stuffing which means I will be making quite a few more little pinnies. They are fun to do and are great fillers for in-between projects, or when time is short and a quickie is just the thing.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Village Roof-Making

Roof construction is well underway here in the quilting room. With all the houses made last week at retreat, I have just had roofs to finish off this week. Then assembling the two parts will commence.

Making the roofs for these houses involves some significant trimming. Why? Because we have significant bias edges. Those can be buggers if one isnt' careful. No stretching allowed!

So above, we have a stack of roofs needed to be trimmed. I like that the pattern is so clear in how to measure and cut for the trim. It's nearly perfect every time. If any of them are off, it's because I was less than accurate in my sewing.

The photo above shows what the block looks like before and after trimming. That is some significant size difference, isn't it?

After trimming 10 or 15 houses, the stack of trimmings looks like this. Sigh, I hate waste, but I would also hate dealing with wonky parts that don't fit right because of a stretched bias edge.

Oh, the quilter problems!!

I've linked up today with Silly Mama Quilts and Sew Fresh Quilts.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Made at Retreat

In yesterday's post I shared the projects I worked on at retreat - the finishes, anyway. I have a couple of WIPs that saw some action, as well.

I took my Village house parts with the idea of sewing quite a lot of them together. Alas! I only brought house bottoms - no roofs anywhere! So I will be busy with roof construction in the next few days. The pattern calls for 132 houses, but I will end up with just under 100. If I can piece together more parts, I will, but for now, I think I have used about all the Coriander Quilts charm packs I had.

Fortunately, I'd brought along another project just in case. Remember when I cut out the wrong quilt for a retreat challenge two years ago? Here's the post explaining it. Well I'd never taken the time to actually sew that fully cut-out quilt, so I can now report that it is in the initial phase of construction. Yay! I am really going to like it, I think! It's called Best of All, a pattern by Country Threads. Each block has 49 pieces (I think) so it is a time-consuming process, but the results will be oh-so-worth-it!

My retreat friends were also ultra-productive through the last week. I was not totally on top of my photographing and record-keeping game, but I have three finishes to share.

First, Terry finished off a jelly roll race quilt in some lovely Barbara Brackman fabrics. We had a good bit of sunlight and yellow overhead lights, so it's looking a bit washed out, unfortunately.

Next, we have a big quilt from Laura, who typically prefers making mini quilts and doll quilts. She has a thing for scrappy, though, and with leaders and enders, she made this scrappy 9-patch.

And last, but certainly not least, Jan cranked out a Friendship Star quilt made from Crown Royal flannel bags. This is a thing with Jan - she's made several over the years, and since people know she collects CR bags, people from all over save them for her.

It's safe to say that all who attended retreat accomplished quite a lot of sewing. We were together from Tuesday through Friday, and we worked very steadily. We are already signed up for next year and I can't wait!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, April 22, 2018


Our recent quilt retreat proved to be quite productive in that I finished three projects - all WIPs or UFOs. Having these things "nagging" me over the past few weeks and months had become rather a burden, and it feels like a weight has been removed by having them done - to the flimsy stage, at least.

First, I concentrated on the final steps of the Star and Chain quilt - the Thimbleberries project which was left over from last year's retreat. The blocks were all completed, and through the early part of this month I had been working on sashing strips. Basically, all I needed to do at retreat was to stitch the rows together. That required a lot of pinning and pressing, but the resulting quilt is so worth it.

Next on my to-do list was to add borders to my swap quilt - actually, a mini-quilt. Six of us in the Frankfort Girls group exchanged blocks and made the arbitrary goal of having the mini-quilts together for retreat. I needed to add my borders. So here is that quick job completed.

I probably will hand quilt this mini using a Baptist Fan motif with big-stitches. This style of quilting appeals to me as does the muted, low-volume look of this quilt; I am glad to have a chance to see it all coming together.

My third finish of the retreat involved facing a repair job - fixing my Jelly Roll fiasco from last September. I made such a mess of that seemingly easy quilt, that I just stuffed it away for 6+ months in aggravation. It definitely had been the biggest "nagging" quilt of the three, so I did the best I could with it - the old make lemonade out of lemons theory - and I think this finish will be just fine. Should anyone study the construction, they will surely wonder why there's an odd seam going down the length of the quilt. Once it's quilted, though, I suspect it will be nearly invisible.

In a few days, I plan to share the ugly truths about the errors I made with this easy quilt. I need to get my thoughts sorted out, first, and figure out how to explain it simply. Honestly, I am not really sure what all I did wrong at this point.

So those are my finishes. Right proud of this, for sure - I gleefully checked them off my list. Gives me a "clean slate" sort of feeling.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Sharon's Latest Finish

Since the beginning of the year, Sharon has been in a blue-and-white mood, and the resulting blue and white quilts are wonderful. We began the year with our Snow Shoo quilts (she made one and I made one). Now she has finished an absolutely stunning Triple Irish Chain. This was the photo shoot from last Monday when she was here for our weekly sewing date. It is gorgeous!


You may recall that Sharon was inspired by the cover of a recent Minick and Simpson book.

The cover quilt has a zig-zag border which Sharon has opted to omit. There will be no borders on hers as she is nearly out of the blue she used. This borderless version looks spectacular, and really does not need anything else - its understated beauty speaks for itself.

Isn't it great to have finishes? Time together each week keeps us both on our game - we are now making plans to do another "together" project like we did with Snow Shoo. I think it will be using our Roman Holiday scraps in June. We need this much time to consider blocks and patterns that will accentuate our dwindling remnants. You'll be sure to hear all about it as we move toward the summer months.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

New Tablecloth

On Sunday afternoon, I took a little drive over to visit Mom. She'd hinted earlier in the week that she was pulling things out to donate to the upcoming church rummage sale, and maybe I'd like to sort through what would be donated? Yes, for sure. I seem to serve as the repository of family memorabilia. *grin*

I will show you the box and some of the goodies in an upcoming post, but for today I want to show you the awesome tablecloth I made from a lovely length of fabric tucked down in said box.

I did a rough measure and I believe this was a hunk of about 3 yards. It is heavy-weight home-dec style fabric, and the color is the softest, most appealing blue. I had an immediate need for a tablecloth, so this was a serendipitous "find."

At some point when life slows down a little bit, I will do some research on this fabric to see how old it is. Doesn't really matter though, since I love it in its new life as a tablecloth!

The Frienzies came to dinner on Monday evening, and the tablecloth I had intended to use was the wrong size. I found myself in a quandary until I pulled this fabric out of the box. I spent an easy hour Monday morning cutting off excess and hemming. Voila! It was perfect for my spring-themed table.

Thanks, Momma, for the fun box of goodies! This was an unexpected surprise - a happy accident sort of thing. Yaay!

The centerpiece was a simple one - daffodils from our garden and pink whatever-they-ares from Krogers. *smiles*

My absence this week from blogger-land is because I am at Canter's Cave for our quilt retreat. I will have a plethora of material for posts coming up, so be patient with me! I promise to share it all.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Moda Blockheads

Several Moda designers - some of the biggest names in the quilt world - joined together about a year ago to present a 6-inch block of the week (BOW). All together there were nearly 50, I would guess. I followed along and saved all the patterns - maybe someday I will make these blocks into a quilt, you know? I did make two of the blocks, but I knew I would never keep up, so I collected for that magical "someday."

The designers were Carrie Nelson (remember her from last month?), Lisa Bongean, Jo Morton, Betsy Chutchian, Lynne Hagmeirer, Jan Patek. The blog from Bear Creek offered a thorough explanation of the Blockhead program.

Here's a picture of Carrie with me at the Village workshop. She was so much fun - one of those people you just know could be one of your best buds if you lived anywhere near.

The Blockheads project was a huge success, evidenced by the massive number of quilters who followed them on their Facebook group page. I loved seeing all the variety of colors and fabrics; many made changes to suit individual preferences. That FB group was a wonderfully supportive and encouraging group. True "community."

Well, in the last month or so, many of the quilters who did actually sew along with the designers are now showing off their finished quilts. I have been saving pictures of the ones that I am most enamored with. Granted all of them are beautiful, but a few really appeal to my tastes or style.

I thought I would share a few of my favorites so far. I am sure more and more of these will be posted, so I know I will continue to add to this group.

As I study these three quilts and try to pinpoint why they appeal to me so, I have concluded that there are two factors at play here.

One, I like the idea of a color family, as opposed to a scrappy look. This surprises me, for I have made quite a lot of scrappy quilts, and I love them. But for this project, the controlled color options seem more pleasing. Now, if you study these quilts, two of the three are scrappy-ish. The difference is that the background is consistent, and that offers enough "control" that I don't immediately see a scrappy quilt.

Second, I like the interesting settings. Separating the blocks, which are so varied in their looks, with setting blocks or interesting sashing options lets my eyes "rest" a bit from the otherwise "busy" nature of the quilt.

Soon, like maybe next month, a second round of Blockheads will begin. I have yet to decide if I will join in, but I am certainly going to collect these blocks, as well.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Bar Stools Makeover

We have been in our house since 1992. That first Christmas, my sister gifted us with 4 bar stools, unfinished-furniture-style. We did nothing to them for several years, then painted them light blue. A few years ago, I got the bright idea to add padding to the woven-jute seats and cover with fabric. I liked the look of the padded seats, but they wear out over time. Here's the post about that first upholstering effort.

The worn spots had become quite unsightly, but I didn't really have any ideas for changing them out until a big "ah-ha" moment hit me a couple of days ago - use the remnants from the family room curtains I made back in January!

The remnants, however, were all very long, narrow pieces of fabric; I would  have to piece it to make a big enough portion to cover two seats. So I did. With a close inspection, it's easy to see the pieced seam; but do I care? Heck no! It's for sitting on!

I pulled out a ga-zillion staples from the old fabric, cut new fabric to fit, and asked DH to staple for me. (Those staple guns are tough to operate!)

I am very pleased with this new look. I have just done 2 stools, since we have no use for 4 any longer. The spares are in the basement, and if I ever decide to bring them back into service, I still have remnants to use.

Now I am thinking about a new paint color for these stools. Perhaps shabby-chic white?

Happy Quilting, Friends!