Thursday, February 28, 2019

February Wrap-Up

It has been a wet and gray month here, and I am glad to see March on the horizon! But those miserable weather day did allow for a good bit of sewing and quilting, so it's not all bah-humbug, right?!

My wrap-up for this month includes - what else? - 9-patch blocks! I  have really been on a roll with those for two months. There were some other fun things, too, so let's have a look.

I started the embroidery project that my sewing buddy and long-time friend Sharon gave me. I am stumped with making something called a "colonial knot" - once I figure that out I will have a finish. The first 9-patch is awaiting completion when I get the blocks from the Frankfort Girls' 9-patch exchange. The picture of the clean table in the foreground shows the aforementioned Sharon hard at work on her Chock Full O' Charm quilt (which I just now realize, I have yet to share). I need to get on that. We had a nice long day of sewing in the middle of the month, which prompted my clearing off the table and her finishing her quilt top.

I have already shared the great book I listened to - twice - on Overdrive. It was just as good the second time around. DH is shown with his margarita on National Margarita Day, last Friday. And the last pic in the middle row is from the balcony of the gorgeous Ohio Theater, where we went last Saturday to hear the Columbus Symphony.

The bottom row shows off my two double 9-patch quilts that came from the tub of one UFO. That has been a gratifying finish, for sure. Then I have a picture of the sweet FQpack from Temecula Quilt Company, and last, my Frienzies - around Pam's dining room table on Monday. She fixed a wonderful dinner; what fun we always have.

I am exhausted from a day spent grading, and grocery shopping, and a quick trip to Columbus to exchange cars with DDEmma. We'd lent ours to her while she shops for a new one. Busy, busy.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Two Double Nines

That little saga I wrote of a few posts back has been completed. Both quilts are now finished to the flimsy stage and I am anxious to move on to whatever happens along next. Let me show you my two double 9-patch quilts.

The quilt hanging on the design wall is made with the blocks that were constructed accurately. Honestly, I did not have very many of these when I sorted out my UFO tub. Most of the blocks in the quilt on the wall were pieced just in the past few days since I have revisited this UFO. I found a pretty feathery fabric (by Moda) in the stash that makes a fantastic border. I am very pleased with my efforts.

Then I turned my attention to all those poorly constructed blocks. I still don't fully understand what I was doing wrong, but so many of them were off kilter in all sorts of ways. They were a mess. I just couldn't bear the thought of throwing them all away, though. I decided, instead, to make a second quilt and just allow for inaccuracies as I went along. The result looks surprisingly good, and that could be a lesson for all of us -- we don't have to obsess about everything being perfectly constructed to have a quilt that meets the "eye test." If I weren't telling you here that the quilt in the foreground is made with wonky blocks, you would never know it.

I used the same beige setting fabric on both quilts, and for the second quilt used the Debbie Mumm burgundy print from the little 9-patches for the border. And now it, too, looks fantastic and I am equally pleased with the results.

I am having fun making all these quilts using the 9-patch block, but I do think I am about ready to switch things up and try something different for awhile. Maybe a Churn Dash? An Ohio Star? We shall see.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Audio Books and Happy Book Hangovers

I have had a wonderful couple of weeks listening to two of the most delightful books. Both the titles listed here left me in that wonderful "book hangover" state. I have so looked forward to sewing while I listen to engaging novels like these.

First, my book club will this week be discussing Heft by Liz Moore when we meet on Friday. I will not say more here about it as we generally keep our thoughts to ourselves until we have our meeting. But, truly, you should read this book. Or listen, if you prefer.

After moving past my book hangover after Heft, I began Britt-Marie Was Here by Frederik Backman.  A year or so ago our book club discussed his book, A Man Called Ove. It earned overwhelming "thumbs up" from our group, so I had high hopes for Britt-Marie; I was not disappointed. It was so engaging that I have restarted it and am listening to it all over again. Backman has such a talent for storytelling. The subtle way he infuses humor and insight has enthralled me entirely. 

The sewing has been very rewarding with these books playing within earshot. Do you have any recommendations for me? I would love to hear them!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Sunday Hodge-Podge

Or maybe I should title it 'The Weekend Roundup.' I have a little bit of a smorgasbord of material to tell you about today, so prepare for some content that has absolutely no unifying theme. I'm gonna be all over the place.

Friday was a fun day. The Frankfort Girls met at Sheryll's house and all 7 of us were there! Awesome! It is absolutely a total gab-fest when we are all in attendance. Sheryll's husband Bill is an avid photographer, so we commandeered him to take a few group pictures of  us.

Around the table starting with Jan (in pink), Helen, Jayne, Sharon, Becky, Terry, Sheryll
I thought you'd like to have some faces to put with the names I frequently reference. Since Helen is just peeking over Jan's head, here's a shot from the opposite view.

If you are not in a sewing circle, you are seriously missing out on some fantastic fellowship and friendship. These ladies keep me challenged and motivated to make-make-make all the quilts!

Our group meets every-other-Friday morning, 9-noon. The next meeting will be at Sharon's where we will have our 9-patch exchange. I am really looking forward to that.

On Friday afternoon, I took our truck to have some servicing - regularly scheduled maintenance stuff like rotating tires, changing oils, checking fluids and filters, and so on. No pics of that, but I will show you a picture of our Ridgeline. It's the first truck we've ever owned, and we love driving it (that's good, b/c our younger daughter has had our car for the last month!). We got the truck in early September, used, from a local dealer here that we've done business with for years.

Then Friday evening we celebrated National Margarita Day at our favorite Mexican restaurant, La Cascada in Hillsboro. We go nearly every Friday. And they have the best margaritas, hands down. Trust me on this! Here's us enjoying our drinks - and each other!

Okay, so with all that fun on Friday, what could possibly top that on Saturday? Well let me tell you, I managed to have a pretty spectacular Saturday, to be honest. I finished the quilt top for the Double 9 Patch made with the good blocks (see previous post for good/bad situation).

Don't you love how great this border fabric works with the blocks!? Adds lots of pizzazz! I am so very happy with the way this turned out, and I am glad I made the version with the good blocks first. Now, when I turn my attention to the wonky blocks, I will be less likely to fuss about how terrible it goes together; it will be an effort just to make an everyday quilt that can be tossed around and used roughly, if need be.

Saturday night, we went to the Columbus Symphony at the Ohio Theater in Columbus with our friends Cheryl and her daughter Elisa. The concert was a Tribute to the Eagles with a group called Hotel California. What a treat to hear that great Eagles music with the symphonic sounds of strings and horns. Delightful.

And afterwards, we made a quick stop over at our older daughter's house nearby for cocktails and coffee. That was a sweet, unplanned visit - but the concert ended early enough and we were so close - it just needed to happen.

And that brings us to Sunday, today, and that means Slow Sunday Stitching. I have zoomed in on one of the group pictures to prove that I really do stitch on my Lake Effect EPP when I am with the Frankfort Girls. Really! I do! And I am going to stitch on it today, too, while we watch a few old movies on TCM's 30 Days of Oscar. We have watched quite a few award-winning oldies in the last few weeks. Very entertaining.

Stop over at Kathy's Quilts for her Sunday link-up feature of projects others are doing the Slow Sunday way.

Have a great Sunday, folks!
Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, February 22, 2019

The Saga of a UFO

When a UFO comes out of hibernation after 20-25 years it's hard, exactly, to recall why it was sent to this quilter's purgatory in the first place. In studying the parts and pieces in the tub marked "Beige and Burgundy Nine-Patch," I believe I can make a few assumptions.

Apparently, I was okay with things through the making of the small 9-patches. My troubles appear to have surfaced when I started making the double 9-patch blocks. Nothing seemed to be square, or even, or sized right, making the matching of intersections dang-near impossible. 

This is one of those less-than-stellar blocks. What an aberration! No wonder it and its wayward mates spent so long in time-out. I shake my head in shame that I was responsible for such shoddy work.

While pressing all the blocks, my mind worked on how I could salvage the mess and come up with an acceptable finish.

The tub still had quite a bit of workable materials in it. Lots of partial blocks, strips, and yardage. This was promising. 

I made more blocks using the already-cut fabric. Here is a block that measures out exactly as it should. How could those old ones have been off by so much?? I don't dare fathom a guess.

My next step was to determine which of the pieces of yardage I would use as setting blocks. I auditioned two - this one is the same as the light fabric in the 9-in-9s.

The second choice won out - this beige print. And I went ahead and made the rows I could make with the newly sewn 9-in-9s, setting aside those wonky blocks, still not sure how to deal with them.

And as it typically happens, I had my eureka moment in the midst of making my quilt top.

Make a second quilt. So simple! I had ample background fabric with which to work, and that is how I have proceeded. Below is a picture of the two quilts to come out of one UFO tub. The top quilt is made with wonky blocks. The lower quilt is made with the correctly-sewn blocks. See the size difference?

I would have made myself totally nuts if I had tried to force all the blocks to work in one quilt. Utter madness! The aggravation is not worth it. Since I had plenty of fabric to make two quilts, I have taken the path of least resistance.

And it pleases me ever so much.

I am not stressing at all - the newer blocks are made painstakingly correct and fit nicely with the setting blocks. The old block have all been trimmed to a uniform size, and I am making the best of their imperfections.

The "correct" quilt is ready for borders, and I have pulled out a feathery Brackman and Thompson fabric to serve. I will finish off the "wonky" quilt and bring you the results of both soon.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Frankfort Girls

It's been a long while since I last brought you any news from my sweet quilting group The Frankfort Girls.

We met at Terry's on Friday morning and were welcomed to a table laden with delicious muffins and coffee cake. I'm sure you're noticing that cute table topper, too. Fits perfectly with Terry's country farmhouse d├ęcor.

Jan shared a "honeybee" finish but I was in no position to get a picture of it. (sorry Jan!) Sheryll had two flimsies which I could easily photograph. They are beauties!

Aren't these gorgeous?! I believe Sheryll said that the oak leaf applique is a very old UFO. The two-color stars are, too, if memory serves, and gosh I love that one! I have a definite soft spot for blue and white quilts, and this is absolutely spectacular. Lovely.

In recent weeks/months I have taken pictures of finishes that have gone unshared, and while I don't begin to try to share everything these girls make, I do try to highlight a few. If you don't mind, I will backtrack a bit and play catch-up with just a few more pictures.

This beautiful creation is by Becky and will hang (or maybe it already has) in a LQS as a sample.

Helen made this table runner which is perfect for the wintery weather we are having.

This quilt by Terry is from several months back (I can tell because of the shirt sleeves). She called this the Doug Leko quilt; he's a quilt designer and author, so those familiar with him will likely recognize it.

Today, I am hoping to finish off the unplanned 9-patch quilt I shared in the last post. I got as far as chain piecing the top together in one direction; today I will tackle the other direction. It is already pinned, so shouldn't take long. Then I will think about borders. Hmmmm...

Have a great Monday!
Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Unplanned Quiltmaking

A week ago I was finishing up the 40 9-patch blocks I needed for the little block exchange my quilting group is doing in March. Well, in typical Jayne fashion, I didn't clean up the leftovers from those blocks - and there were considerable leftovers. I cut way more 2.5" strips than I needed, and I just knew that if I put them away, I wouldn't think about them again for possibly years.

My spur-of-the-moment decision, then, was to just make more 9-patches.

Hey, my goal for this year is to make lots of quilts using easy designs and big pieces. What is simpler and easier than a 6.5-inch 9-patch block? Not much. I love making them and (so far) have not grown tired of them. So I am feeling totally justified!

I sorta' had a notion that my setting blocks should be either from my brown bin or my red bin - largely this was because I could most easily access these two bins. I'd have had to do some really deep-stash-diving to get to some of the others.

These six became my frontrunners. In order to audition each one, I opened each fabric onto the bed and laid a few blocks out on top.

The two photos above are the darkest of the three browns - a closeup and a distance shot.

These two are the middle brown.

These two are the lightest brown (even though that one looks black). None of the browns excited me too much, so I moved on to auditioning the reds.

This deep burgundy was my initial favorite as I pulled the fabrics. But the look on the bed was less than thrilling.

This could easily have been stored in the brown bin, but because of the tiny red flowers, I suppose, it was in the red bin. I pretty much pulled it as an afterthought.

I had high hopes for this rosy pink, as well. Ehhh, I'm not so sure about it now.

A closer look at the three browns.
And a closer look at the three reds.

So, how does one decide? Well, here's my thought process. When I study my pictures of the two darkest browns and the one dark red, I only see the 4 light squares in the 9-patch blocks. Those lights "pop" to my eye, and I don't really want that. I want the 5 dark squares in each 9-patch to shine as they form that great chain-like look across the quilt. So I am eliminating the 3 dark fabrics.

That leaves the one light brown and two light reds for my consideration.

I believe I will select the lightest of all  - the beige background with red flowers. It is a Robyn Pandolph fabric from Moda. To my eye, it allows the chains to be most dominant. My second choice is the lightest of the browns.

My brain has worked pretty hard today making this decision. (What does that tell you about my brain??) I think I will go cut a bunch of 6.5" squares and get on with this!

Happy Quilting, Friends!