Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sixteen Down


I have 16 half-circle blocks around the edges of this quilt finished and 16 half-circle blocks plus four corner quarter circles to quilt.  I guess that means I'm nearly half done with the edge circles.

It would be great if that finished the quilting but I need to go back and quilt the corners of each block.  I envision quilting several diagonal lines from circle to circle across the corners.  I should probably decide exactly how to quilt before I begin, shouldn't I?  But I think what I've got going will work for this quilt.

You can just barely see the Prismacolor pencil marks outlining the circles to be quilting.  I've had to remark several of them either because they were too light or because they rubbed off.

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

--Nancy.
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Thursday, September 14, 2017

A Little Fabric Store in an Envelope

A few weeks ago Janet O. of Rogue Quilter mentioned at the end of this post that she was emptying her scrap basket and told her readers to let her know if they were interested in having them.  Janet makes miniature quilts -- the most exquisite and perfect little gems -- and said the scraps were small.  Yes, I was interested.  If my name were chosen, I knew to expect pieces 2" or smaller.  I've been cutting 1½" squares for a small quilt for an as-yet-undetermined pattern so little scraps would be great. 

Last week before we left to visit our daughters in Kentucky, a bulky envelope from Janet arrived in our mailbox.  When I opened it, I found a quart freezer bag brim full of beautiful Civil War reproduction fabrics.


There were 92 different Civil War era fabrics -- more variety than is available at my local quilt store!  I oohed and aahed as I looked at and admired each piece.  The pieces were larger than I expected, some big enough to cut several 1½" or 2" blocks, and all were prints I'd not seen before.  Amazing.  Beautiful.  Delightful!  I'm already imagining possibilities.

So now, when I want to make a small quilt with reproduction fabrics, I will go shopping in Janet's little store in an envelope.

Thank you, Janet.  You are more than generous.

--Nancy.
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Monday, September 11, 2017

A Crooked Little Finish

Another little basket block is finished.  I like it, even as crooked and out of proportion as it is.  And are those primitive flowers or just odd ones, do you think?   


What I keep learning again and again is that a photograph is more perceptive than my eyes when looking at the real thing are.  Now I see everything I didn't see when I was laying out pieces and stitching them to create this block, and even after the block was stitched.  Maybe photographs are just more objective?

Thank goodness I left a little extra around the edge for trimming.  I have about half an inch in which to tip the basket and flower a little to the left.  This block will measure 7½" x 10½" when cut.

Asymmetrical baskets are a little challenging for me because I'm never certain how to place them on the block.  Sometimes they're fine, other times, like this one, they seem to tip too far in one direction or the other.

This is the final basket block in Cheri Payne's Baskets of Plenty quilt along in her Facebook group.  There is one more block in the quilt-along, however it has a branch and bird plus the quilt's name.

Cheri used a simple 2" scrappy sashing between the baskets in mostly light and medium fabrics.  So there's one more aspect of play before finishing these baskets into a quilt top.  I want a quilt large enough to use so I may add an extra border or two, or I may make a few more basket blocks.

I'm linking this post to
> Moving It Forward Monday at Em's Scrapbag
> Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
> Main Crush Monday #88 at Cooking up Quilts
> finish it up Friday at crazy mom quilts
> Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
> Finished or Not Friday Busy Hands Quilts
Thanks for hosting, ladies.

--Nancy.
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Monday, August 28, 2017

Fitting In

These are the seven baskets I've made for the Baskets of Plenty quilt-along, created by Cheri Payne for her Facebook group, Quilts by Cheri ~ Friendship Group.


They're taped to the wall above my computer in the room where I sew.  I enjoy looking at them when I walk into the room but seeing this photo of them makes me realize how busy they are.  I hope a wide sashing will give each its own space and a chance to shine.  (Though, some of them look "shinier" to me than others.  I have a few favorites.)

The order I made them
-- top row, l. to r.:  Basket 5, Basket 4, Basket 6
-- bottom, l. to r.:  Basket 1, Basket 2, Basket 3, Basket 7

Now I need to decide on the fabrics for the final basket.  This basket will be about half-size of the others, measuring 7½" x 10½"  Just a tiny one, but with one huge flower and some smaller ones, depending on what I decide.


I've chosen the background fabric but not the other fabrics.  Choosing fabric for the basket is next.  I'm leaning toward the one on the left because the colors are ones from all the other blocks.  But it's not a "primitive" print and maybe it's just a little too busy.  I don't want a fabric that stands out and distinguishes itself as too different.  The fabric needs to fit in with the other baskets.


I'm thinking about an orange flower.  But then again, maybe not.

I love to see other bloggers' photos of their finishes but I also appreciate seeing how others make decisions about choosing fabric, layout, sashing, etc.

Do any of use use feedly for your blog reader?  I like it a lot for the non-quilting, family history blogs I read, and it's great for the quilting blogs I follow, too.  But today, when I went to the site, all of my feeds were gone.  Not a single blog in the list.  Ugh!  I hope it's just today, just a little glitch, and everything will be back to  normal tomorrow.  Because if it's not, I don't know how I'll ever find all of your blogs again -- maybe as many as a hundred.  If you use feedly, has your blog roll been effected? 

My prayers go out to the people of Texas who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey.  So much devastation and such an interruption to their lives.

I'm linking this post to
> Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
> Moving It Forward Monday at Em's Scrapbag
> Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
> Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
> Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Thanks for hosting, ladies.

--Nancy.
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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


Maybe?
  • 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
  •  

Yes?
  • 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.

--Nancy.
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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
> finish it up Friday at crazy mom quilts
Thanks for hosting, ladies.  I appreciate it.

Thanks for visiting.
--Nancy.
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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?

--Nancy.
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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.

--Nancy.
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