Thursday, August 26, 2021

Ohio Star Block Exchange

 Finally! I finished off the Ohio Stars while I was away at a mini quilt retreat this week!!

To have something done so far in advance is so NOT like me, but gosh, it sure does feel good. I was not dreading making these, but for some reason I had created a daunting giant job in my mind. Tackling it seemed like climbing a mountain. 

But, just like I've told beginning quilters, break the job down into manageable steps and it seems so much less overwhelming. 


I had done all the cutting last week. I'd also drawn all my diagonal lines and matched up the lights and darks. Two or three steps done. 

Getting to retreat, I began sewing my hourglass units. And I sewed, and I sewed, and I sewed. I needed 42 stars and there are 4 hourglass units per star, so that adds up. Then they all needed to be trimmed. Time consuming, but made loads more enjoyable when surrounded by quilting friends who encourage and inspire.

Typical for me, I have a couple of stars constructed so that I can see how my finishes will look. The precariously stacked star parts are all cut apart and trimmed and ready to be pressed for the next step.

The photo above shows another stack - all the hourglass units are made and stacked with the correct center squares and corner squares. The next step: chain piecing. 

I am happy to report that most of my stars turned out great with points coming together as they should and final measurements consistently coming to 9.5 inches. Blocks that look a bit wonky will not be too noticeable, and I made a few extra stars just in case a block or two ends up being too poorly sewn to be exchanged.

By the final morning of our 3-day retreat, I was pressing my stars. I spent Monday making the hourglass units. Tuesday, I sewed the stars, and Wednesday, pressed them all. DONE. 

We Frankfort girls have done block exchanges for a couple of years, now. We started with 9-patch blocks. Then we did Churn Dash blocks. Now Ohio Stars. I believe everyone is ready for a break from block exchanges for awhile. We did agree to a different sort of exchange, though - scraps! I will share more on that another day.

Click here to see how I set together my exchange 9-patches. 

Click here to see how I set together my exchange Churn Dashes.

I do have an idea for my Ohio Stars, but I will save that until after we have exchanged, which is scheduled for our Christmas gathering.

Hope you are all keeping cool in this heat wave we are having here in the midwest. Gracious!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Show And Tell

On Friday morning the Frankfort Girls met over at Sharon O's house. Only five of us were in attendance, but we had such a nice show and tell, that I thought I would share with you. We regularly have show and tells; I am very irregular in recording and sharing them, however. 

Sometimes, we finish all the projects at one time, or so it seems, and Friday was one of those days were finishes were plentiful. Helen shared 3 finishes (either completed quilts or just quilt tops), Becky had one completed quilt, and I added one more completed quilt with 3 quilt tops.

Here we go. From Helen:

Her completed top is Schoolgirl Sampler. It is stunning.

This quilt top is Kitty Corn; she is not going to add the appliqued cat.

Fisher Price Little People - perfectly FUN!

From Becky we have a real stunner of a quilt. This is an heirloom, for sure. 

Forermore BOM by Pam Buda. This is exquisite!

And from me, I shared quilts I've already shared here on the blog, but I will post them again.

My Scrappy Irish Chain.
Emma's Monochromatic Ohio Star.

My red and white stars.

The baby quilt which I still cannot reveal just yet.

So we had a lovely morning, even without two of our cherished members. We will (mostly) all be together next week for a mini-retreat over at Nelsonville's Needles and Pines. We were there for a whole week back in April, and are returning for just 3 days this time around. This will undoubtedly mean more show and tell posts are in our future!

Happy Quilting, Friends!


Saturday, August 21, 2021

Quilting A Baby Gift

In the previous post, I indicated that Thursday was a productive day. In addition to making Emma' quilt top which I shared yesterday, I also decided it was time I quilted the baby quilt for my soon-to-be-born grand nephew. He'll be here in a week or so!

I bought the fabrics in June when we toured through the Shenandoah Valley. I used my go-to baby quilt pattern and whipped up this little boy quilt in no time. I will show full reveal pictures after it has been gifted. Below are the fabrics. 

Well, ever since making the quilt top, it has been draped over the bar of the long arm machine, waiting to be quilted. I still drag my feet to get to this part of the finishing process. Deadlines make me take action.

It seemed I was done in no time. When baby quilts are on the long arm, they quilt up fast. I had it bound before the end of the day. Ta-da. I am so glad it is done, and ready to pass on along to my sister to pass on to the expectant parents, her son and daughter-in-law. 

Here are some previously made baby quilts using the same pattern I used in this quilt.

It is so basic, and any size squares will work. I suppose most of these are 4" squares that finish at 3.5" - maybe bigger. I lay them out on the floor or bed to arrive at a pleasing look. The strongest diagonals look best when spread out with some softer fabrics to separate. Then I stitch using the fast and easy, tried and true Eleanor Burns method. A baby quilt comes together quite fast.

Yes, Thursday was quite a productive day, after a week of non-sewing activities. Now I have moved on to those Ohio Stars I need to finish for the block exchange we Frankfort Girls are doing in December.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Friday, August 20, 2021

Making Emma's Neutral Quilt

 Don't worry! I am still around! Just been busy doing other things besides sewing and blogging!

I had book club on Tuesday, which is not an overly lengthy meeting, yet when one hasn't read the book we are supposed to be discussing, then one must read-read-read! I spent a significant part of Sunday and Monday listening to Last Bus To Wisdom by Ivan Doig. It was a wonderful book! So very satisfying. Delightful. At 480 pages, though, it was a marathon session of listening.

I normally listen to books while I sew, but this particular week I listened while I cleaned and cooked for the other big event on my  calendar - Frienzies. I was scheduled Wednesday to serve the ladies brunch. I have an uncanny way of never being ready on time, but I really worked at it, and did mostly okay.

The menu consisted of quiche, muffins, fruit salad, and assorted appetizers. I think everything turned out okay.

Thursday, with the book read, meeting attended, and brunch served, I sewed. And gosh, did I get a lot done! 

I made the flimsy for Emma's neutral quilt! It looks pretty darn good, too!

Do you see the star in this quilt? You might have to click on the picture to enlarge it. In the upper left quadrant, a very neutral Ohio star is stitched in. The fabric used it Grunge, so that accounts for what looks like discoloration. It is not, I assure you!

 Here's the star. I tried really hard to get the points to match up. I think I did okay. It satisfies me, for sure!

I am such a visual learner, I just have to share a couple of examples of this visual learning in action.

First, I could not decide how to place the star. With the plan to make a quilt measuring roughly 80"x95", I drew up this diagram. Then, to transfer from paper to actual bed quilt, I went to the extreme of pulling out a quilt top which was close to the preferred size, laid it out on the bed, and played around with placing the quilt block.

Strange to look at, for sure. But I did get my visual!!

Emma is thrilled with it. She is now looking at quilt pictures to find a picture with the kind of quilting she wants on it. I hope she selects quilting that I feel comfortable doing! 

I did more sewing than this, but I will save the other stuff for a future post. I am off to stitch this morning with the Frankfort Girls!

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Back Basting More Leaves

In amongst all the fun summer activities, I have actually found some stolen moments for hand stitching. The project is still Lake Effect, of course, and bit by bit I am attaching all the leaves on my viney panel.

Discovering the back-basting technique has been a true game-changer for me. I no longer dread the prospect of stitching these panels, and I am actually seeing improvement on some of my more recently finished sections when compared to those first bits I did last summer.

Getting the panel ready for stitching takes some doing, however. Above, the loosely-cut leaf shapes are attached to the panel with thick, dark thread. I have basted right on the traced lines which are on the back of the panel. The reason for using thick thread is important. When stitching, those basting threads are removed a few stitches at a time. I use the tell-tale line of the basting stitches as my guide for where to turn under my raw edge. Of course, the reason for using dark thread is simply to see it better. *wink*


But before any of the actual stitching can begin, those loosely-shaped leaves need to be trimmed down close to the basting stitches. Also, corners and curves must be clipped and notched. By taking a close look at the photo above you'll see that two of the leaves have been trimmed, notched, and clipped. Those are ready to be stitched.

These final two photos show my little pile of cut-away trimmings. This technique requires precision cutting with sharp, pointed scissors. 

As I often do, I am linking up with Kathy and her Slow Sunday Stitching bash. Go have a look to see what everyone is working on.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, August 14, 2021

A Saturday for Dabbling

Today I seem to be dabbling. A plethora of projects await me, and I'm having a hard time focusing. So I flit.  Eventually something will be finished, surely.

First up this morning, I decided I should cut out some more stars. Above are the parts for 7 Ohio Stars, and I had the neutral parts ready for a few more, below.

After about an hour or so (I lose track of time when I am in the sewing room!), I have about 29 star parts ready to go.

I need a total of 49 stars, so there's a bit more cutting and prepping to be done. I have 4 stars done, if you recall. Click here to see.

I've been sorta' procrastinating on this next project. It has been a bugger, for sure. About a month ago, I acquired this old cupboard from a distant cousin. It is in good shape, but needed a refresh. With 80 or more years' worth of furniture wax/polish build-up, it looked almost black. In the picture below, the very top is indicative of how the entire piece looked prior to my sanding efforts. But sanding was taking forever - the wax on the wood gummed up the sandpaper. So I switched tactics.

After consulting several YouTube videos featuring methods of furniture refinishing, I tried denatured alcohol applied with steel wool. It's messy, but it works. See my current progress.

My plan is to leave the wood in as natural a tone as possible. I'd given some thought to painting it, but no, I don't think so. Maybe the interior will get painted; undetermined on that at present. 

I am going through rubber gloves pretty fast. I don't know if the denatured alcohol is that strong, or if the steel wool is making little punctures in the gloves, but my scrubbing hand (left) is really taking some abuse. This process requires a good amount of elbow grease along with lots and lots of paper towels. I will go back for a second round of scrubbing and wiping later today.

Coming up next week, I have two events for which I am preparing. First, our book club is meeting on Tuesday, and I need to read the book, Last Bus to Wisdom. I have it downloaded and ready for listening. Then on Wednesday, I am hosting the Frienzies here for brunch. My menu is set; I must schedule a grocery visit, along with a bit of housekeeping. 

I plan to listen to my book while I work on the cupboard, wash windows and mop floors. This gal knows how to multi-task! *wink*

Happy Saturday and Happy Quilting, Friends!

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

A Quilt For Emma

Way back at Christmas time, DD Emma asked if I'd make her a quilt. Uh, yeah. It's what I do! And when your kiddos ask, that's a no-brainer!

Emma had a very specific notion of what she wanted. This is going to require my inventing another quilt. Remember the one I did for the daughter of a friend - back in 2016? There was not one thing hard about Elisa's quilt other than its sheer size. All the stitching and design was about as straightforward as can be. 

Emma'a quilt will be equally easy in its construction. All she wants is one star. She wants it all to be very monochromatic and subtle. We have shared back and forth some fabric options, and we have finally decided to use two shades of Basic Grey Grunge fabric. Our choices are shown in the photo below.

So, I've now made the one block required for this quilt - an 18" Ohio Star. Well, technically, it isn't entirely made. I have the parts ready, and waiting on the design wall. I sent this photo off to Emma to get her seal of approval.

Since this is the only block in the whole quilt, I will take every precaution I possibly can to make all my points meet perfectly. Even if I have to hand-stitch the block, I will do it. One missed point will stand out like the proverbial sore thumb. 

All around this block, I will just add all the background fabric. I will need to determine how long and how wide I want the quilt to be, and work out the math (?)  -- What!? Math?? Yes, I think I can manage it. The star will be off-center, so that will help. I can "eyeball" its placement and work out the rest.

This picture of the star on the design wall provides a bit of perspective. Emma's block will be an 18" block. The little star up above is an 8" block. It helps to have that frame of reference.

This will be fun, right?

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Another Pillow

On occasion, I find myself in a place where I cannot decided what to work on next. Often this occurs after finishing something. In this case, I finished the Scrappy Irish Chain over the weekend, and ever since, I have been in some sort of limbo as I attempt to focus on what my next 'thing' will be. I itemized an ongoing series of projects in this post - that was intended to help with focusing, but it did not. 

This morning, I decided to select one thing that I could definitely get done with the least amount of effort. That one thing would also free up some space in my sewing room, something that is always desirable.

At least two weeks ago, I quilted the front and back panel for the second front room pillow, and basically turned my attention to the scrappy quilt. The panels needed trimming to size, a zipper installed, and all the sides stitched. Not very involved at all, so I just did it.

Two matching pillows for the front room sofa - win, win! I love the fabric on both sides - the blue side is sprinkled with haphazardly-shaped triangles, and the white side is script print. I changed the way each side is quilted - did you notice? The quilting on the blue side is evenly spaced, whereas the quilting on the white side is done in random widths.

One thing. That's the thing about quilting - there's ALWAYS one thing to do. And this one was super-duper fast to finish. Yay!

Happy Quilting, Friends!