Friday, May 31, 2019

Frienzies and Fun

Seven of the eight Frienzies shared lunch yesterday here on our screened porch. We missed Lyn who had a more pressing date with family (a granddaughter's birthday!) in Kentucky.

What a wonderfully relaxing day we had. Back in the beginning when we began this monthly tradition of getting together, we always met at restaurants. We soon discovered that we couldn't linger and visit the way we do when we are in our homes. We have traded off hosting Frienzies for several years now. It is always so relaxing and enjoyable to visit with these dear friends in the comfort of our homes. I may be biased, but I think our porch was particularly inviting yesterday - the weather was cool and overcast; the birds sang pretty tunes for us; the abundant spring rains have made our surroundings quite lush. The fountain provided additional ambiance. Totally delightful!

The Frienzies event ended mid-afternoon, and Sharon stayed on for sewing. We got a lot done! I started a baby quilt with this fabric I bought at Guhl's when we had the Canter's Cave retreat in early April. Four 1-yard cuts of these compatible fabrics at $3.99/yard. I finished the top last evening and will share it here soon.

Sharon used up the last of her Luna Notta/3 Sisters/Moda scraps by sewing this top together - she will add the corner triangles at home. I apologize for the poor quality of the photo - the day was quite cloudy thus the lighting in the room was poor.

Here we are at the end of May, and whew! What a lot was accomplished! I feel like this could be quite the satisfying summer if I can keep this up. We shall see!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Busy Days and Catching Up

It's been far too long since my last post, but I can honestly say that we have been busy! Thank heavens I have a husband who is willing to pitch in with me to prepare for my friends!

Tomorrow I am hosting the Frienzies for a luncheon on our screened porch, and even though they are dear friends who don't care a lick how much cleaning or sprucing up I do, I wanted to get several projects done before they came. A few posts back, you saw the curtains I hung on the porch - that was one project done. Read on to see a second one.

So, let me catch you up. Since my last post, I went to quilting with the Frankfort girls on Friday morning. We were at Sharon's house, and she always has the loveliest centerpieces. That blue table topper looks fantastic with the yellow flowers.

 Jan had a show and tell for us; this fun truck quilt looks just fantastic.

Back here at home, DH and I began what I consider to be a rather significant painting project. I had been wanting to paint our kitchen table and chairs for awhile, so we did! We bought this dining set as relative newlyweds back in the early 1980s. It is not heirloom-quality furniture, but it has served us well all these years. In an effort to create a more farmhouse look - all the rage in decorating now - I wanted to transform it.

I will come back with a post devoted to this project next week; then you will see the fantastic finish.

We celebrated Memorial Day. We dined at La Cascada (as we typically do most Friday nights). We shopped at a flea market-style shop in Hillsboro. We visited my mother. We attended a graduation party. We went to mass on Sunday morning followed by a pleasant drive through Ross and Pike counties. We did some yard work. And we binge-watched a great Prime Original show called Jack Ryan.

Noticeably missing from that listing of activities is sewing. However, while watching television, I have been stitching on Lake Effect. I now have the inner ring of hexies stitched together. I need to add some half-hexies in the middle and then I will remove all those papers.

Today, I am cooking for the luncheon. Nothing too taxing - making chicken salad and muffins. Later I will get some freshly picked strawberries from our Mennonite neighbors and an angel food cake from the Amish store (which is technically a Mennonite store). I will set the tables and tidy up the kitchen. DH was sweet enough to give the porch a thorough cleaning - cobwebs and fern droppings - it's looking pretty good out there!

I hope you are getting some sewing done! I am missing my sewing machine!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Borders On!

That little impromptu quilt I made a few weeks ago called Front Porch now has border. I'd had the fabric since Mother's Day weekend, but the focus on the t-shirt quilts has prevented me from getting back to this. Yesterday, I pulled this back out and finished it off.

Interesting look for a border, wouldn't you say? I really didn't have many options in the one store I shopped in, so when I spied this, I grabbed 2 yards of it.

The shop, Sew to Speak, is located in Worthington; some of the fabric in the center of the quilt came from this shop, so I knew it was likely I could find a suitable border fabric. The line is by Art Gallery Fabrics called Mediterraneo.

Another quilt top to quilt. I will be getting onto that machine as soon as possible. It may be within the next week!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Quilter's Planner May Blocks

I took some time Wednesday afternoon to make the two blocks for the Quilter's Planner sew-along. I'd been keeping up really well, so I didn't want the month to get away from me before getting these done.

I really have enjoyed making these blocks, and have done a good job of keeping the mess under control. My past experience with sew-alongs is that they result in fabrics and messiness strewn from one end of the sewing room to the other. I have made the extra effort to keep this project under control this time. The picture below shows my storage tub; I keep all the fabrics and finished blocks contained in the tub.

The blocks are getting bigger! This month they measure out at 10.5 inches. Below are all the blocks to this point. May's blocks are the biggest. (There are two of each except for that star on the bottom.)

Here are some closer looks at just May's blocks.

The fabric I am using for this project is Memoire a Paris by Lecien. It is all left over from a 9-patch quilt I made in early January. The resulting quilt will have a wonderfully soft, dreamy, romantic quality; perhaps my anticipation of this is what keeps me on deadline with this sew-along.

That's all for today, Peeps! Have a great Thursday!
Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Something New

I really like knowing that I am not too old to learn new tricks - and that I have a desire to learn them!

I have recently been seeing some gorgeous images on Instagram of a hand stitching technique called kantha stitching. It's a form of embroidery with roots in India. The link is to the Wikipedia explanation and history of the term.

The Insta-friend I've most admired is another Jayne - from Texas and she spells her name correctly -  the same as I do. *wink*

We have posted a couple of messages back and forth, and from scrolling through her pictures, I have gained quite a bit of background on some social media groups doing little projects like mug rugs, greeting cards and bookmarks.

Don't you know I just had to give it a try!

I imagine I am doing a few things wrong, but for a first attempt I am thoroughly pleased with this effort. I have a whole bunch of DMC embroidery floss, but I think most "masters" at kantha use perle cotton #8. I have not yet figured out the finishing part - do I bind this? Turn under the edges and whipstitch? I have much yet to learn.

I intend to play around with this and try more possibilities. It's an easy thing to do while watching baseball with DH. If you IG, then check out some relevant hashtags - #kantha or #libertysocietykanthastitchalong are two that I found which contained beautiful inspiration.

Here's a shout-out to @jayneellender - my new Texas IG friend. She doesn't know it, but she has inspired me! She has been steadily producing simple scripture-based, inspirational greetings on her bookmarks and cards. Watching her become increasingly more confident and skilled has been a fascinating learning experience for me.

I hope I never get to a point where I don't want to learn new things. I can't even imagine ever getting to that point. I have a bucket list of things I want to learn - and this wasn't even on it!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Another T-Shirt Quilt

You've been hearing about my efforts to whip out three t-shirt quilts for commissions I have taken on. The first, Caleb's, was finished a couple of weeks ago. The first of the Hardy quilts was finished last week. I finished off the second Hardy quilts this afternoon with a valiant effort on the borders.

I say 'valiant' because I did not have very much of the red fabric, so the borders ended up a bit narrower than I might otherwise have made them. I used the navy corner blocks in an attempt to save on fabric, and I am quite glad I did. The quilt needed the added interest of those navy corners.

I will backtrack a bit to provide history on this t-shirt project. I took possession of Caleb's shirts sometime in the winter. The tub of Hardy shirts came a few weeks after that. I waited until school was out to begin working on them. Basically, it boils down to devoting the month of May to working on these quilts. Rarely have I ever exercised such focused determination to complete commissions; I can be quite the procrastinator.

I've laid this second Hardy quilt on top of the first. The red and blue one is made with all the little boy t-shirts that were in the tub. I cut those squares at 12.5" and because there were fewer small t-shirts, the resulting lap quilt measures 48" x 61".

I have one more t-shirt quilt to make, but as yet do not have all the shirts I will need to complete it. My husband's alumni fraternity organization will be given this next quilt for a fundraising raffle. The quilt will have an Ohio State theme.

Next up for the three I have finished is prepping them for quilting. I have backs ready for the first two. I imagine I can find a suitable backing for this last one, and then I will be headed to that Tin Lizzie! Agghh! It's getting real here, ya' know?!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Porch Curtains

For a long time now I have wanted to add curtains to the west side of our screened porch. I frequently sit out there through the morning and sometimes through the day, but evenings are difficult because of the direct sun that floods the porch. It is uncomfortably hot, even with the ceiling fan on. We love to have supper on the porch, and even if it isn't too hot, we have to maneuver our chairs to avoid direct sunlight in our eyes. Click here to see pictures of our porch from 2010.

From the photo above, you can see that I have solved the problem!

A few weeks ago, DH and I purchased two curtain rods, clip rings and a huge drop cloth. My plan was to somehow fashion a large curtain for the one wall of screened windows. Because I was still working out particulars and because the sun hasn't gotten overly hot yet, I have not been in a big rush to complete this project. I finally settled on a plan, so yesterday, DH helped me hook the hardware to the wall.

This morning, I took the drop cloth out the yard and stretched it out flat on the grass. I cut it in half and hemmed the raw edges.

The drop cloth fabric has plenty of imperfections, but that's the beauty of it. This tough, rough fabric suits me just fine since it is going to suffer some harsh weather conditions and exposure to bugs and spiders.

This was the easiest project! No pins. No iron. No casings. Only two fold-over hems. How simple to rely only on finger-pressing and eyeballing it!?

A seam runs through the width of the drop cloth; I was concerned that it would be too thick for my machine to take, but no! We charged right through it!

The next step was to clip on the rings. I measured out a 24" flounce and attached the clips at even increments across the panels. This allowed the curtains to fall just slightly above the porch floor.

Twenty-four inches might be a bit too much of a flounce, and I may end up taking these down, cutting off a bit, hemming the raw edge, and then rehanging. For now, I will leave them as is and think on it. 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Slow Sunday Stitching

It has been a wonderful day here! Our daughter's 34th birthday is today, so we met her and her husband in Columbus for brunch. We had a slow, leisurely meal at a lovely spot in Worthington - The Whitney House.

And I don't have a single picture to show for our great morning.

Since getting back home this afternoon, we watched the Indians take a win against the Orioles, and I proceeded to purge and straighten up my pantry closet. I had lots of very seriously expired food in that pantry.

So now here we are at the evening, and after I post this I intend to get comfy in front of some interesting Sunday night television with my needle, thread and Lake Effect hexies.

I took some time this week to lay out all the sections I've sewn together. It looks quite a mess, and it makes me wonder how it will ever come together. I have partial hexies to attach, for sure. I imagine I will actually even UNSEW some of these, even though I was sure I counted correctly when stitching them together. And I have a lot of papers to remove from the backs of all these hexies. That will be a job, won't it?

I am very close to turning my focus solely to the center section. I will cut the panel for the center applique piece, finally get down to work on the applique, and then stitch those hexies around the panel. That will be a HUGE step. I estimate that I could be completing this center section before I go back to school for fall semester. That could be my goal. Yes, I think that will be possible, so now let me see if I can accomplish it!

As usual, I am linking up with Kathy's Quilts and her Slow Sunday Stitching party.

Hope you have had a great Sunday!
Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Sharon's Colorful Creation

As I said yesterday, Sharon and I are now sewing together here every Thursday. At least for the summer. We may not make every Thursday due to vacations or such, but our goal is to hit most of them.

So, now that we've established that the two of us are sewing on Thursdays, we probably ought to get to looking at Sharon's fantastic finish.

When we began our day, Sharon already had the individual units sewn together. She anticipated a rough stretch of 'math' - she's as averse to it as I am - but it turned out that she simply needed to be orderly in her stitching, thus the neat color-specific stacks.

She said that as she moved through this process, she felt as though she established a rhythm and felt pretty confident that she'd done a pretty good job of keeping things in the correct order. After all the strip-piecing in one direction, she laid it out on the bed to check for mistakes. Can you see anything amiss?

There are two small problems. One, which isn't visible in the picture, is a light orange/dark orange misplacement. The other one is definitely visible. Look in the upper left corner for a square turned the wrong way. She did a bit of unsewing and correcting, and then got straight to work on sewing the rows together. Straight off the sewing machine without even a pressing, her finish is below.

There is a story for this quilt. A year or two ago, our quilting friend Jan (of the Frankfort Girls) gave everyone who attended the Canter's Cave Retreat this kit. I have one just like it waiting to be stitched. Isn't that a generous gift? Jan is the best.

And in one day, Sharon has a new quilt. She promises to send a picture when she has it all pressed and free of loose threads. And I promise I will share it when she does.

Happy Quilting, Friends!