Saturday, August 16, 2014

A finished top -- Faithfully done

top finished at 70" x 90"
My "Faithful" quilt top is finished, all 2812 pieces of it.    Lori named hers "Under the Big Top," but I didn't use a bold stripe as she did, and mine doesn't have a predominance of red in the blocks and border as in hers.  I need a different name.

Maybe I'll name mine "Faithfully," as the original single block was called "Faithful," and I've been faithfully working on all these HST for quite a while.   Any suggestions for a different name?   I'd appreciate help. 

The slim dark coral border is 1-1/4" wide, and the green border is 4" wide.  I'll probably use the same green for binding.   My options for backing are wide open with all the colors and fabric on the front.    I highly recommend this fun project as a great way to use a lot of HST. 

On my last post, three comments never came through to my e-mail.  This does not typically happen--until now.    Jean let me know that she got a "delivery status notification--failure" -- one of those Daemon failure message thingies we don't like to get.    This was the message she got:

Technical details of permanent failure:
Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the server for the recipient domain by   

My e-mail server rejected her message and the other two messages totally.   Jean and I have been commenting back and forth for years, so this was a surprise.   Jean and the other two commenters all use yahoo for their e-mail addresses.

Any suggestions?   Is there something I should check or uncheck in my settings.   Any assistance would be appreciated.   

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

On to the sashing

My 12 "Faithful" blocks are finished, with small HST leftovers packed away for future projects.   The last three blocks are #5 (lt blue outer strips), #7 (B/W outer strips), and #12 (purple outer strips).
--Photos enlarge with two clicks--

One of my 12 blocks has a "cheater" center -- not pieced but cut from fabric with a printed design.  That's my homage to quilters of the past--using or making do with what we have and no apology for it.   

This may be the final arrangement.  Cheddar and pink jump out as the most noticeable colors to spread out.  Or I might swap #10 and #11.   After larger HST are added as sashing, the color of the outer strips won't matter as much as they do for this photo. 

I have a box full of HST ready for the sashing.   They're trimmed to 2-1/2".   Lori's instructions are for ones that finish at 2-1/2", but I've been sewing, trimming, and storing this size more than any other for the past couple years, so this is the size I'll use.  I'm hopeful that I can make them fit with all the pieces and seams in each section of sashing.  A larger size would be more distinctive, but this is what I have.

 working on HST's
This is "HST Central" -- a little old cutting mat and my rotary cutter, my 2-1/2" Bloc-Loc ruler, a clear box filled with trimmed HST, and stacks of HST yet to be trimmed.    

The last decision will be which direction to turn the sashing HST.  The blue version  (from a Fons and Porter magazine) has all sashing HST turned the same direction, pointing SE.   The antique quilt (inspiration for all these blocks via Lori's instructions) has groups of sashing HST turned this way and that.  Lori did the same with her 9-block quilt.  I think that's my preference as well.

modern version (blue);  antique (red)
I want this finished so I can put away the HST for a while.    I'm nearly there.  Have I mentioned that most are from scraps?   Many are from others' discards.   It's nice to do these gradually.  Opening a box and having HST's ready to go is wonderful

Finishing this quilt is related to a "contract" I made with my hand-stitching/quilting friends, the Mavens.  On June 6, for the fun of it, I signed and dated a document stating that by 06/06/15, barring any catastrophic situation, I will --
#1 -- Finish my Dear Jane top, complete with border of triangles
#2 -- Make a quilt using men's ties I've been gathering (at least 60" x 80")
#3 -- Make a quilt with Civil War repro fabrics (at least 60 x 80")
#4 and #5 -- Make two scrappy quilts (each at least 60 x 80")
Dear Jane is the only one that doesn't have to be quilted, bound, and labeled.  The others do.  
At our recent quilting weekend, I mentioned that there are no consequences if I don't meet my goals.  There should be consequences, so I suggested one, which seemed to meet with approval.   Barring a catastrophic situation, if I don't meet these goals as stated above, the other 8 Mavens will each have a 2-minute run in my stash.   (Think "Supermarket Sweep" in a quilter's personal fabric shop.)   We didn't set up specifics on that cuz I'm not going to let it happen.
I'm focused!   I'm driven!   I'm quilting!!  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

More Faithful blocks, and I'm a winner

each "Faithful" block will finish 17-1/4"
I'll probably see HST in my dreams tonight.   I've made so many, trimmed so many, and used so many in the past few days that sometimes when I'm sitting and daydreaming, I think I'm seeing HST screen savers floating around in my mind.

Four of these Faithful blocks (instructions from Lori of "Humble Quilts" blog) were finished last month, and I made five more this week.  Three more blocks to go.  The center of each block and the framing strips are CW repro fabrics.   HST are a mixture of "anything goes."

The framing strips added after each round of HST may look like random color choices, but I have a plan.   I made a list of 13 different colors for the final outside strips (checking them off as they're used).    If the first two frames are pale or dull, I'm using bolder, brighter strips for the outside round. 

Pattern and book I won (plus an oldie)
The sashing between and around the 12 blocks will be more HST (trimmed to 2-1/2" before using).  The strip colors aren't a big deal, but I want the overall look to be a balanced variety.   Outside frame colors for the final 3 blocks will be black, lighter blue, and either dark green or bright purple. 

I was one of 2 winners of a giveaway last week from Geoff's Mom Pattern Co. (Joyce Weeks).  I already own "Mattie's Quilt" (an older pattern no longer on her website), and "Aunt Sarah Jane" was the pattern I chose for
"Are You Kidding Me?" by Geoff's Mom
the giveaway (it uses a LOT of little 4-patches), along with her book that she co-authored with Norma Whaley.

Another pattern I'd like to make from Geoff's Mom happens to be in the book -- a quilt named "Are You Kidding Me?"  It's made with 281 little 9-patch blocks.   I'm participating in Barb's 9-patch swap, and there are plenty of ideas for using 9-patches among the quilts by Geoff's Mom, many of which I'd describe as traditional with a twist.     But for now, I'm going back to HST for those last Faithful blocks. 

The other winner of a pattern and book from Geoff's Mom was Nancie Anne Quilts.   The link is to her blog post with a cozy, homespun, plaid neighborhood of house blocks.  I love them!  Drat -- another quilt for my bucket list.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Ready for borders

Brownstone, 61 x 80" before borders
Quilting time with my daughters this weekend.  These three quilt tops were put together by us during a weekend retreat with my friends.   Each top still needs a border or two.    My CW repro blocks in "Brownstone" alternate with the warm brown squares (a Marie Osmond fabric with the date "2007" on the selvage). 

closeup of "Brownstone"
I'm sewing assorted 1-3/4" squares together, preparing them to be borders.   First a border of squares, then a wide brown border, then another border of squares.  The pattern calls for 432 squares, but I lengthened the quilt by two rows, so 500 will be about right.  

A garage sale find from June is now ready for a border.   I bought a set of ready-to-applique blocks at a friend's garage sale.  Using Kaffe Fassett fabrics, the friend pinned leaves, stems, and 4-layer flowers onto the background.    (Double click on photos for a closer look.)  

67 x 87 before border
With a grin on her face, DD2 volunteered to "take them off (my) hands."   Close zigzag stitching (not satin stitching) was her stitch of choice.  She changed thread colors often, and she now has a favorite quilting tool -- the Sewline glue pen.   She went through 1-1/2 tubes of glue to hold down all those petals and leaf points. 

Two-inch wide strips frame each flower, cut from more Kaffe fabrics.  Some came with the blocks, but many came from my stash.  Each framed flower block is 12" x 16".   Purple sashing is 1-inch wide, and I'll add a 3" or 4" wide floral border.   This quilt will probably end up in the home of DD1.  She's as excited to own it as DD2 was to sew it  (and Mom gets to quilt it). 

one of the 12" x 16" flower blocks
potential share quilt, 66 x 77 before border
DD1 worked on the most boring of our three projects, kindly agreeing to put together a "share quilt" for the guild.  I was given a 5-yard quilt kit, loaded with dots and stripes.   I cut fabrics into 6-1/2" wide strips, and she sewed strip sets, cut strips into squares, and organized all the parts according to the pattern with the kit.  The resulting top is blah and basic.   I'll add a thin brown border, and then a wider border with more stripes and dots.

I haven't used my HQ Sweet 16 to quilt anything since mid May.   It's long overdue.  I miss that part of my quilting life.    Maybe I can get back to it soon, after I get all these borders added. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

New (to me) toys

Singer 301 that I test drove today
My quilting friend BB is downsizing her fleet  of sewing machines.   Another lady was more interested in her Featherweight than I was, so I passed on that one.

When BB mentioned she had a Singer 301,  I knew only enough about that model to say I was interested.   Some online reading has expanded my mind about its features and history.   I "test drove" it this afternoon, and tomorrow I'll offer to buy it.  

An online chart of serial numbers shows that this 301 was manufactured in 1952.  It runs smoothly and quietly, stitches are stable and even, no visible rust, no clunky sounds.   Love the swing-up extension.  Many bobbins, a box of accessories, a "buttonhole maker,"  and the instruction book are included.
"How does a straight stitch machine make a buttonhole?"  I asked.  The attachment moves the fabric back and forth.   Cool!  I'm looking forward to seeing that.

 added to make a "two fer" (2 for the price of 1)
Thank goodness the instruction book is included.  Two surprises  -- (1)  the bobbin inserts into the bobbin case so it spins counter-clockwise, and (2) the thread inserts through the needle from right to left.   Every other machine I've owned has the bobbin spinning clockwise, and they thread from left to right, or front to back. 

If I buy the Singer 301, BB will include this Standard Sewhandy sewing machine in the deal. 

More online research.  These machines were manufactured from the 1920s into the early 1930s.  Some people maintain that this machine was the inspiration for the Singer 221 Featherweight.   Others disagree.  The Ossan Company acquired the Standard Co. around 1929, and the company was believed to have later been bought out by Singer in the 1930s. 

This machine is a little cutie.  The carved metal plate above the needle is shiny and ornate.  The case is intact with a top tray, the unique foot control, power cord, and lots of accessories.   It's lighter than the 301, and it's heavier than a Featherweight. 

I"ll try sewing with it one of these days, but I'm not planning to keep it forever.   For now, it's a novelty and a conversation piece for my family. 

I'm heading to a weekend retreat with friends tomorrow, and I'll take my Bernina, but I predict the 301 will go with me to a retreat some day soon. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Nine-patch swap

my first pairs of 3-inch blocks for Barb's swap
These 9-patch blocks are for the first online swap I've ever joined.  It looks like 10 blocks, but actually there are 10 pairs here.  I only have 40 more pairs to go.

Barb has organized a simultaneous swap for two groups, one using bright fabrics, and the other using Civil War repro fabrics.  We're following her excellent instructions (here)  for making a pair of 9-patch blocks, beginning with two 4-1/2" squares, not strips.  The process is easy to follow and very accurate.  We'll be swapping pairs of blocks--dark and light fabrics in opposite spots in each.  I'll use a small safety pin to keep each pair together.

Deadline is October 1, and I don't want to get behind.   I don't have a Facebook account, so I probably won't be seeing many of the other blocks as they're finished.   I'll just enjoy the surprise when 50 pairs of blocks show up in my mailbox this fall.

Our 50 sets don't have to be identical.  I'm using various rust and black fabrics I like, as I find them in my stash.  So far I've used some Jo Morton, a Windham line labeled 1830-1865, and the black is a Bonnie Blue Basic from Marcus Bros.   (Double click photo for a close-up view.)  The blocks are square, but the photo makes some look wonky and distorted.

I'm doing a good job this month actually cutting and sewing some CW repro fabrics. This is much better than leaving them inside bins or stacked on shelves.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Working on a UFO

my 63 blocks are now finished
This project has been set aside for four years.   It will be my first larger quilt made from Civil War repro fabrics, and I want to work on it steadily till it's finished.   I've returned to it with enthusiasm this week, finishing these last 12 blocks in the past couple days. 

The pattern is "Brownstone" from Cottage Creek Quilts, a design inspired by an antique quilt.   I knew I wanted to make one for myself after I saw it being made on Dawn's blog a while back.   I'm lengthening the pattern from 7 rows to 9 rows (7 blocks per row).  The Monkey Wrench blocks will finish at 6-1/4". 

I wrote about my original Brownstone blocks here back in 2010.   After looking through those 51 finished blocks, I decided to add pink.  The cheddar, poison green and red already in blocks aren't enough to add much pep to the quilt top.   I don't want this one looking dreary, so half of my newest blocks look like Pepto Bismol spilled on them. 

The blocks will be on point, alternating with brown squares.   

The 63 blocks are finished, and I'll start arranging them on my design wall soon.   All fabrics were pulled from my CW repro bins except one.  The pink/brown block, left side, 2nd from the bottom, has 4 chocolate brown squares with parts of overlapping pink disks that look like colorful washers.   (Double click on the photo for a closeup view).  That looks too modern to be an 1800s fabric.

That fabric was a remnant in a bag of 1800s repro scraps that came from Homestead Hearth.  (Thanks for sending me there, Kathie.)  This isn't the first time I've been surprised by the modern look of a repro fabric. 

A couple choices are in my stash for the brown alternating squares, setting triangles, and border.  I'll pick one tonight and start putting it all together soon.

Heat and humidity here today.  Temp was close to 90 degrees.  Summer is back!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Faithful progress

If I focused on the number of HST in the finished blocks, (80 in each) I might not have started these Faithful blocks from Lori at Humble Quilts.   But instead I'm focusing on the fun of the busy jumble of colors and fabrics, and I'm enjoying the whole process.

These are entirely from stash and scraps.  The block centers and strips will be mainly CWar repro fabrics.  With the HST, anything goes.  Some of my HST don't have the sharp light/dark contrast, included just for the variety.  A little white here and there, but not very much. 

My goal is 12 blocks, and I'll be sure to add a few more lighter strip borders, like the cheddar and the pink.  I like adding those strips of fabric after each round of HST.  No, actually I need them. They help keep my measurements honest.

The light square in the lower left 4-patch center bothers me, but I'll probably let it go.  It wasn't so obvious till I saw a photo.  That square blends into the busy border strip.   It'll eventually be lost in the jumble of fabrics (I hope).

Life-getting-in-the-way issues have limited my sewing time this week.
-- Helping a daughter house hunt.
-- Bank visits to deal with -- hmm -- let's just say "stuff." 
-- Removal of a sore, fungal toenail (healing fine with daily soaks, but boy, it looks ugly just 3 days post-op). 
-- My MIL fell, suffered an alveolar fracture (upper jaw), lost a tooth, and her other front teeth are wired in place while the bone heals.  The oral surgeon was patient and kind to my MIL.  He told her she'll be a 91-year-old who looks like a 14-year-old wearing braces.

Soft food shopping was in order.  Individual servings of applesauce, jello, and pudding were easy choices.  But baby food was different.  I haven't been baby food shopping for years.  I like the easy-open plastic containers.  That will be easier for my MIL to use, and recycling will be easy too.  All those little empty glass jars bothered me back in the days of my babies, before recycling. 

Baby food options surprised me, but they shouldn't have.  These days, we have choices for everything on a shopping list.  I could choose between glass or plastic Gerber packaging.   "Organic" or not.  Single foods or a combo.  Some food combos showed creativity.  Garden veggies together -- OK, that's logical.  Apples and chicken?  A creative mind certainly came up with that one.

center 4-patch has been changed

UPDATE -- 5 p.m. on Sunday. 
I just couldn't tolerate that single lighter square in the 4-patch center of the Faithful block.  So I took it out and replaced it with a brown square.  Whew !! -- now I can sleep soundly tonight.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A scrappy week

one Faithful block done, 3 more started
Scraps have been trimmed, stacked, arranged, and sewn for a week.  I'm working on my "Faithful" WIP and one new project.  Faithful was a quiltalong project led by Lori at Humble Quilts last year.   I made one block then, and my goal is to make a large quilt using 12 of the 17-1/2" blocks. 

I don't have much progress to show on the actual block sewing, but I have overflowing containers of 1-1/2" HST and 1-3/4" HST and 2-1/2" HST  trimmed and ready to go. The blocks are oh-so-easy to begin, starting with a simple 6" finished center.
Top, F& P quilt;  below, antique inspiration

Sorting through some old magazines a while back, a blue and white quilt in the July/August 2011 issue of Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting  looked familiar.  On the last page of the article (photo at left), a color layout for the F&P quilt was shown next to the antique quilt which was its inspiration.  This is the same antique quilt that was Lori's inspiration for her quiltalong.  I definitely prefer the colors in the antique. 

Eventually my quilt will have 432 of the 1-1/2" HST, 528 of the 1-3/4" HST, and 237 2-1/2" HST will be used as sashing.  The majority of those HST are ready to go, so I'm well on my way with this scrappy, scrappy quilt. 

A  new project is "Trail Mix" by Mabeth Oxenreider.  The pattern is in June 2004 "American Patchwork & Quilting" magazine, and it's the cover quilt on this book.  (I know I've seen it in at least one other book I own.)   It doesn't have a single triangle in it, so it's a nice change from all those HST.

I made samples of each of the 5 blocks in it.  Each finishes at 6 inches.  Then I couldn't stop myself and made all 32 of the simplest block, the 4-patch.  It didn't take much time at all, thanks to a packed shoebox of 3-1/2" squares cut from scraps.

5 kinds of blocks used in Trail Mix
When I make the other blocks, it will be one kind at a time with no hopping around.  (That was a recommendation from Karen at Nana Girl Quilts.)  She made her blocks from hardest to simplest.  I made simple blocks first. 

For inquisitive minds, the blocks needed are:
32 four-patch blocks (32 done
38 double 4-patch blocks (6 done)
44 triple 4-patch  blocks (3 done)
42 uneven 9-patch blocks (2 done)
24 double 9-patch blocks  (2 done)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Dolly quilt for a new bed

dolly bed with its new quilt
A new bed deserves a new quilt.  I bought a little twig dolly bed at a gift shop several weeks ago (16" long, 9-1/2" wide, 12" tall at the headboard).  I made a little quilt top for it this weekend, to be quilted soon with simple, big stitches.  No pattern.  I used scraps, leftovers from previous projects, and random cuts of CW repro fabrics for its scrappy look.  (All photos enlarge with a couple clicks.) 

quilt top is 13-1/2" x 14-1/2" -- ready to be quilted
I felt the cost of the bed was quite reasonable ($20), especially since it included a red gingham mattress and matching pillow.  
mattress and pillow came with the dolly bed

My final four basket blocks from Wendy at Legend and Lace are done.  The last ones made are the group of four, bottom center in the photo.

I'm playing around with layouts.  I want a larger finished quilt, and I need more baskets and some alternate blocks.  Maybe I'll add sawtooth stars or hourglass blocks.  A random assortment of simple blocks is another option I've seen online. 

complete group of 8" basket blocks
The bright yellow square in the upper left basket stands out with its one-of-a-kind brightness.  I think that one needs to be replaced.   The scrappiness of the baskets is pleasing to me, but that one square is just too bright.

Looking at the dozen blocks, I know which ones I'd like to make again.   They weren't the simplest to make, but my favorites are the ones with appliqued handles, especially the Blueberry Block (center basket of the center row).  I always enjoy seeing basket quilts in person or in magazines or books, and this will be the first one for me. 


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