Monday, August 14, 2017

When Does a Project Become a UFO?

I've been trying to finish UFOs--unfinished objects/projects--this year and have made some progress.  While looking for something else this week I came upon 17 little 4½" quarter log cabin blocks.

Oh, fun, I thought!  I imagine little gems when I look at these blocks.  I immediately wanted to make more and I have plenty of strings.  I asked myself, is this a UFO or just a few blocks, maybe not even a WiP?  Because if it's not a UFO those blocks need to go back where they were so I can work on a true UFO -- one that's further along than 17 blocks.

So I put that question to you, dear readers.  When is a project a UFO? 

No (I think)?
  • you made a few blocks and aren't sure you want to continue so you laid them aside to work on something else
  • you made a few trial blocks to see if you like them and they're on your design wall
  • you've made blocks without a specific intention for their use

  • the intended dozen blocks are made, you just need to choose sashing and sew
  • all the pieces for the blocks are cut, they just need sewn

  • you ran out of the fabric you used and are searching for more
  • all you have to do is add the border
  • it's ready to be layered and basted
  • it's ready to be quilted
  • only the binding is left to sew
  • it's been laying in your closet for 10 years waiting for the quilting lines to be marked
  • it needs a little tweaking (for any number of reasons)

So please tell me, how do you decide whether you have a UFO on your hands or a WIP?  At what point does it become a UFO?

I couldn't help myself.  I made a few more of those little quarter log cabins.

I have an idea or two in mind for them.  But I should probably get back to a true UFO, right?

I'm linking this post to
Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework 
Moving It Forward Monday at Em's Scrap Bag
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Main Crush Monday #84 (MCM) at Cooking up Quilts
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Thank you for hosting, ladies.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Baskets of Plenty #7:  Cheeky Bird

It's a good thing flowers are light weight or this cheeky bird might not be able to carry that flower that's half as big as he is!

Basket of Plenty #7 of Cheri Payne's sew-along

I had fun making this basket block but I'm not sure it "works."  Maybe those flowers look more like strawberries.  Maybe it's not obvious that the bird picked the flower.  (And how does one create the impression of movement in an applique block, anyway?)  Maybe that peach/red flower hanging over the basket doesn't work because of the brown part, no real stem, and no leaves.  I seem to see a block much more clearly after the parts are all stitched in place, much less so when I'm playing with parts. 

Sometimes when I finish an applique block I imagine other possibilities and know I may make changes, this block included.

There is only one block left in this sew-along and Cheri has already posted the pattern on her Facebook page.  It is smaller than the others.  I'm looking forward to Cheri's finishing suggestions for this quilt.  I was hoping it would be at least lap size but I think it will be smaller.

My husband told me today that he really likes these blocks.  He said he thinks I should not put them together into a quilt but should finish them as they are and hang them or frame them.  Well, I don't know....

I'm linking this post to
> Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts
> TGIFF at Quilting is more fun than Housework
> Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Thanks for hosting, ladies.  I appreciate it.

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Vintage Quilt Blocks, New Quilts

Who can resist old unused quilt blocks or pieces of quilts when looking around at a tag sale or thrift store?  Not me if the price is within my budget.  I buy them and then can't decide what to do with them.  Twisted: Modern Quilts with a Vintage Twist to the rescue. 

Twisted: Modern Quilts with a Vintage Twist book cover
I happened upon this book at the library and borrowed it not knowing what I might find inside.  Turns out it's about using those few spare vintage blocks in a quilt.  The author, Mary W. Kerr, makes modern quilts with her blocks but I could see her ideas as jumping off points for anyone who wants to make more traditional quilts, too.

She shows 21 quilts in which she has incorporated previously unused vintage quilt blocks and unfinished pieces into new quilts.  There's a great variety of blocks including string, applique, postage stamp, hexagons, wedding ring, log cabins, snowballs, flying geese, Dresden plates, and more.  She introduces each quilt with information about the blocks she used including the condition in which they came to her; their age, if she knows it; and sometimes a bit of history about the quilt block pattern.

I suppose some might consider it an awful thing to do what she's done but in my opinion it's better to use the pieces than let them linger in an old box to be found by someone who won't appreciate them and who will throw them away.

Here are two examples of pieces she found and the quilts they became.  First a strip of one-patch blocks,

and next a strip of flying geese.

It's likely that each quilter will choose her own way to use vintage blocks but I appreciated the encouragement to not let them lie around gathering dust. 

The author included a chapter on working with vintage fabrics in which she discusses washing, removing smoke smell (with a bar of white Safeguard soap), dissecting a block (if you think it necessary), and tips for using and incorporating them into quilts and other textile projects even when they may be fragile.  She cautions that many unused quilt pieces were not used because they are imperfect -- poorly cut, inaccurate stitching, and/or poor quality fabric.  She offers suggestions to address these situations.

I have several old blocks and while I will probably not choose to put them in a modern quilt I appreciate the encouragement to use them instead of letting them molder on a shelf.  Maybe you will enjoy Twisted:  Modern Quilts with a Vintage Twist?


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Circles for Slow Sunday Stitching

This is my current quilt in the hoop and if I have a chance to do any handwork today it will get some stitches.  I'm linking this post to Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts.  Thank you, Kathy, for giving us slow stitchers a place to share.

You may notice that the circle closest to the applique circle is off-center.  I'll remove that it, remark, and quilt it again.  I spent nearly a whole day marking the circles and obviously missed the mark at least once!

I marked with Prismacolor colored pencils in tints close to those of the sashing and center circle.  If the marks don't wash out I'll call them a design element which enhances the quilted circles.  Ha!  I didn't want the marks to be too dark, but not too light, either.  Some have already worn away just while handling the quilt.  Maybe they will all be gone by the time I finish quilting.  Those that are still there I hope will wash out.  After the quilt is finished I'll do a follow-up post about the results of using Prismacolor pencils to mark quilts.

I'm enjoying using regular quilting thread again.  It's so easy!

And I'm hoping for a restful hour or two of hand quilting.  While I quilt I'll listen to this talk again.  It is one of my favorite about grace.

Happy Sabbath to you.


Friday, August 4, 2017

The Ugliest Quilt

It's finished and I think it is the ugliest quilt I've ever made.  Or maybe it's the only ugly quilt I've ever made:  I can't remember any other ugly quilts, or at least not any others I truly dislike.

Buckeye Beauty quilt

I liked the idea for this quilt, a Buckeye Beauty, when I saw it in Lynn Roddy Brown's book, Patchwork Play QuiltsHer version was fun and inviting, but when I made blocks and began playing they just didn't work.  My blocks were multi-colored like hers but together they looked like a jumble.  I separated them into blues/greens/browns and reds/oranges/golds/warm colors for two separate quilts.  That didn't help much but I wasn't ready to throw out the blocks.  All that work!  The only thing to do (in my mind) was persist and finish.  (If you're interested you can see progress posts of this quilt at It's About Value, Busy Buckeye Beauty, and Buckeye Beauty Block Play.)

Buckeye Beauty quilt blocks

I quilted with three strands of embroidery.  I found it hard to pull the threads through and they occasionally tangled, but using larger stitches meant the quilt finished more quickly than if I'd used regular quilting thread and smaller stitches.  A bonus for a quilt I didn't like.

Buckeye Beauty quilt blocks

I dislike this quilt so much that I hardly kept records for it.  I'm not sure what batting I used (probably Soft n Crafty 80 cotton/20 poly) and I didn't record sizes from beginning to end or dates when I began/ended steps as I usually do.  The only measurements are after quilting (56 3/8 " x 68 7/16") and after washing and drying (54 3/4" x 66 1/4").

Buckeye Beauty quilt

I try to identify why I don't like this quilt.  I love to see diagonals and secondary patterns in quilts, both of which appear in this quilt but that's not enough for me to love it.  Perhaps it's the angularity of the blocks.  They don't look welcoming to me, almost like flashes of lightening.  And even though there's a rhythm, the quilt itself seems jumbly.  I think of this as a masculine quilt, perhaps because of the strong, sharp angles.  Maybe some boy will love it.

I learned three lessons from this quilt:
  1. If you (speaking to myself) don't love it while making it, either learn to love it or pass on the blocks, because if you can't love it, you won't take as much care with it as a quilt you love.
  2. When the middle of a quilt measures longer/wider than the edges, bind with the edge measurements.
  3. Come up with my own ideas and make my own quilts.  Don't attempt to make a version of someone else's quilt unless I truly love-love-love it and can repeat every aspect of it, including fabric choices or unless I can "see" it some other way.

The best thing I can say for this quilt is it's done.  Now I just have to find a new home for it.  One of my grandsons?

Have you ever made a quilt you didn't like or that you would describe as ugly?  If so, what did you do with it?

I'm linking this post to
> Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts and
> Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict 
> TGIFF @ Kathy's Kwilts and More
Thank you for hosting, ladies.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Basket Play

As usual, I'm behind with my Basket of Plenty for July/early August.  There was rain -- days and days of rain.  Some days were so dark we needed lights on inside.  Artificial light makes it hard to see and choose colors.  And then we had family in and out of town for three weeks.  Interaction with family is definitely a higher priority than choosing fabric and appliqueing a quilt block.

I chose the fabric for the basket (which, in real life, tends a little more to teal than in this photo) and cut and stitched the bottom half before the rain.  The bird is basted but nothing else is definite in this block.  I hope I can choose fabric for flowers before we have rain again tomorrow and then I can play with placement.

These are the pattern pieces for this block.  The leaves and several flower shapes are obvious but some of the pattern pieces can be combined to make six or eight different flowers.

You probably can't see it well (unless you click on the above photo to enlarge it) but along the side of the paper with the bird I've penciled in a few possible arrangements of the pattern pieces to create different flowers.  Decisions, decisions.

This quilt-along has been a fun and interesting challenge.  There's so much variety from block to block and I don't want to use the same fabrics for each block as I might for more traditional pieced blocks.  Baskets and flowers just want variety.  And yet not knowing what the blocks will look like in advance makes it hard to plan what the whole quilt might look like.  But it's fun to play.  With all the options for variety in the pattern pieces I suppose there are enough to make dozens and dozens of basket blocks.

There's just one more block in this quilt-along after this one so I guess we'll be finished with the applique blocks by mid-September.  I don't know if Cheri will suggest a layout or not.

I'm linking this post to
> WOW at Esther's Blog
> Let's Bee Social #188 at Sew Fresh Quilts
> Midweek Makers #83 at Quilt Fabrication
Thanks for hosting, ladies.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Stitching a Binding - Slow Sunday Stitching

If I have a few quiet moments today I'll begin stitching this binding in place.

I'm so glad to have finished the quilting -- big stitch with 3 strands of embroidery floss.  Maybe I won't do that again. 

The border on the front of this quilt is two different green fabrics.  The back of the quilt has four or five different greens.  And now the binding is five different greens, only one of which is on the front or back of the quilt.  It's a scrappy quilt so all the greens should be fine together.  At least I hope they will.

When you choose binding for a quilt do you tend to choose a fabric and color to go with the front of the quilt or the back of the quilt? 

I'm linking this post to Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts.  Thanks for hosting, Kathy.

And for the Sabbath, one of my favorite hymns, "I Believe in Christ."

       I believe in Christ; he is my King!
       With all my heart to him I’ll sing;
       I’ll raise my voice in praise and joy,
       In grand amens my tongue employ.
       I believe in Christ; he is God’s Son.
       On earth to dwell his soul did come.
       He healed the sick; the dead he raised.
       Good works were his; his name be praised.

       I believe in Christ; oh blessed name!
       As Mary’s Son he came to reign
       ’Mid mortal men, his earthly kin,
       To save them from the woes of sin.
       I believe in Christ, who marked the path,
       Who did gain all his Father hath,
       Who said to men: “Come, follow me,
       That ye, my friends, with God may be.”

       I believe in Christ—my Lord, my God!
       My feet he plants on gospel sod.
       I’ll worship him with all my might;
       He is the source of truth and light.
       I believe in Christ; he ransoms me.
       From Satan’s grasp he sets me free,
       And I shall live with joy and love
       In his eternal courts above.

       I believe in Christ; he stands supreme!
       From him I’ll gain my fondest dream;
       And while I strive through grief and pain,
       His voice is heard: “Ye shall obtain.”
       I believe in Christ; so come what may,
       With him I’ll stand in that great day
       When on this earth he comes again
       To rule among the sons of men.

Happy Sabbath to you.


Friday, July 28, 2017

Nearly No Quilting

Dear readers, thank you for your comments on my last post.  My daughters, grandchildren, and daughter's kittens have been visiting for the past week so my attention has been focused on them instead of creative activities.  I will respond to your posts tonight or tomorrow.

The little quilting I accomplished was stitching around 32 circles.  I was certain I wanted the circles "outlined" but now I'm not sure how to quilt the rest of the blocks. 

Concentric circles in the squares with circles?  But what about the plain blocks?  Or diagonal quilting through all the blocks?  Quilting along either side of and lengthwise through the sashing?  Through the center of each piece of fabric?  Or....?  I love Baptist Fans but there are just so many seams.  I used to think the quilting just held the layers together but now I realize how much it can change the character of a quit.  I want to choose a quilting pattern (or non-pattern) that will enhance this quilt.  I just don't know what it is.

I'm quilting with Americana thread, making larger than usual stitches (those seams!) but not "big stitch" stitches.  The thread was on sale at JoAnn for either $1.00 per spool or two spools for $1.00.  I can't remember which.

I like it a lot, especially compared to quilting with three strands of embroidery floss.  It pulls through so easily and doesn't knot.  Perhaps it's not the best quality thread but it was available.

These are the kittens we've been tending: Lady Jane Grey and Jack Black.  Our daughter brought them for a visit early in the month and, because she had to go home to work seven 12-hour days in a row, asked if they could stay so they'd have company and human interaction.  I like cats but don't love cats the way some people do but I couldn't say no.  They are cute.

They weren't much trouble because they spent their nights and some of each day in our breezeway, though it was a surprise to go out one morning to greet them and find one on top of our 36" grapevine wreath and one nestled into its lower curve.  And I believe they may have tested the patience of our Airedale, Hannah.  They went home with our daughter yesterday.

The ages of our grands are 5, 3½, and 1½.  How fun to see their shoes all lined up after a bath.

All seven of us went to our state fair on Wednesday.  The weather was great -- no rain, low humidity, and not too hot.  I had forgotten how different and fun it is to go to a fair with children.  They're interested in almost everything and want to ask questions, see what's going on, and participate if there's an opportunity.

This is our little 3½-year-old granddaughter.  Before the fair I found a little pioneer-style bonnet at the thrift store.  To that she added the free sunglasses and a cooling cloth draped around her shoulders.  She reminded me of a little grandmother.  And I was thrilled to see that vanity has not yet taken hold.  No worries about appearance for her!

We've had days of rain -- leaden skies, drenched-to-the-bone, need-a-light-on-at-mid-morning rain.  It's beautiful -- I love rainy days -- but they make it hard to choose colors and fabrics for quilts and blocks.

Of course the rain helps the flowers and other plants.  We saw this beautiful garden of zinnias in bloom in front of a home near the farmer's market.  I'm not a gardener but if I were I'd plant zinnias.

Now that our daughters and grands are gone and I have time to quilt, I hope I can quickly decide how to quilt the empty space around the circles in the quilt at the top of this post!

I'm linking this post to Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts.  Thanks for hosting, Myra.


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