Friday, July 21, 2017

A Sweet Little Finish

Those leftover blocks are now a finished top.  For those of you who visited and left comments on my last post (also about this top) I'm sorry for the repetitiveness of this post.  I just want to document the finish.

In that post I was still deciding which direction the stripes in the border should go.  I chose perpendicular to the edges and like the effect.  Each side of the border has three seams.  I didn't want to interrupt the rhythm of the stripes so aligned them, which was much easier to do than I expected. 

The measurements for this little finish are:  9½" blocks + 1½" sashing + 1" green border + 4½" red border equals a quilt that measures 42½" x 53¼".  Though the measurements might add up to to something different, those are the actual measurements.

It's a sweet little top that will be big enough for a baby or the top of a table.  It won't be the next quilt in my hoop, though.

I'm linking this post to
> Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
> finish it up Friday at crazy mom quilts
> Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts

Thanks for hosting, ladies.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Little Bonus Quilt from Leftover Blocks

I had a dozen 9½" blocks left over from this quilt and, being tired of them laying around, I decided to put them together into a little quilt.  Trying to finished those unfinished projects, you know. 

I knew I wanted to connect the inner sashing between blocks and decided the olive green worked best with the various colors in all the blocks.  I like how open this layout and setting looks.  I tried it with red cornerstones and decided it closed in the blocks too much.

The narrow, olive green border was an easy choice but the wider border took a little play.  I had several ideas including red-and-light 9-patch blocks; a light border; and several reds.  The striped red fabric won.

But then there was the decision about which direction the stripes should go.  stripes going parallel to the edges uses less fabric and needs fewer seams.  Stripes going perpendicular to the edges needs more seams and careful alignment.  And they both give a different appearance to the border.

This red striped fabric came from thrift store shirts.  Surprisingly, I found two at different stores at different times!  When I find a shirt with fabric I like I always hope to find another but it so rarely happens.  I'm thrilled when it does.

I particularly like the squares created by the cornerstones, sashing, and corner blocks.  To me it adds another level of interest.

Another quilt on its way to a finish this year!  Can I keep up my one finish per week that's been going on for nearly a month now?  We'll see.

I'm linking this post to
> Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
> WOW at Esther's Blog 
> Let's Bee Social #186 at Sew Fresh Quilts
> Midweek Makers #81 at Quilt Fabrication

Thanks for hosting, ladies.

We're having a heat wave here in Ohio.  I know it's not as hot as some areas of the country but our humidity is high and the dew point is just as high.  When we walk outside we walk into a wall of moisture hanging in the air!  I hope you're having good weather wherever you are.


Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Slow, Gentle Sunday

We usually spend several hours at church on Sunday mornings but this morning we were there for only half an hour.  The electricity was out so we had the briefest of church meetings with several prayers, hymns, and the sacrament, all in a chapel lit only by a little sunlight.  What a sweet experience!

If I had any handwork to do today I would do it while listening to some favorite hymns, like the one below.  Since I don't, I'll enjoy the hymns anyway.  The words are below if you'd like to sing along.

  Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
  Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
  Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
  Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

  Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
  Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
  By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
  Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

  Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
  And run not before Him, whatever betide.
  In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
  And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

  Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
  Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
  Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
  Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

I wish you a sweet and restful Sabbath today.


Friday, July 14, 2017

Poor Little Crow - Baskets of Plenty #6

It's a good thing this poor little crow is made of fabric and has no awareness of himself.  Otherwise, he might notice that his beak looks more like a dolphin's nose and that his tail feathers are permanently  ruffled.  I continue to struggle with the points of turned-edge applique:  they tend to curve, as the tips of the right and left hearts do, or not be very pointed at all.  I'm hoping the adage "practice makes perfect" is true.

Baskets of Plenty #6 of Cheri Payne's sew-along

This is basket #6 of Cheri Payne's Facebook sew-along, Baskets of Plenty.  Her blocks are always so full and rich with plenty of leaves and berries.  Her version of this basket has two small crows facing each other with a heart between.  Of course, we don't know her layout until after we've had four weeks to decide and stitch down our own.

Cheri used a charcoal background for her block but thinking that charcoal would not settle well with the colors in my other blocks, I chose this brown fabric.  At one time it was a shirt.  I used the back because the front had tiny, small, light leaves and tiny pink buds.  The color was right but the print was too busy.  The reverse seemed fine.

I like the colors of the flowers in this block a lot and I especially like them against the brown background.  Perhaps a peach/pink/coral and brown quilt is in my future.

Baskets of Plenty #6 of Cheri Payne's sew-along

I backed myself into a corner with this block.  I appliqued everything but the centers of the flowers on the right and then couldn't find fabric I thought worked.  I tried several blues, a brown or two, and a couple in the red range.  All of them weighed down the right side and drew the eye directly to them.  I opted to stay in the same color range as the other flowers.

I envisioned one little heart in the center of the basket but it nearly disappeared laying there by itself.  I imagined a string of hearts across the top of the basket but those hearts are so small and hard to make that I stopped with three.  Wednesday morning I laid all three where they are now and thought them perfect.  They, too, were cut from recycled shirts.

I call this block finished and I'm satisfied with it but I know that as it hangs on the wall it may insist on leaves or some other addition.

The top photo was taken in natural light without a flash, the bottom with a flash.  They're really close in color but the bottom one is slightly truer to the colors of the fabric than the first.  If you want to see details click on either photo.  I'm not using Blogger's Lightbox so they'll enlarge several times.

I'm linking this post to
> Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
> Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts
> finish it up Friday at crazy mom quilts
> TGIFF at Janda Bend Quilts
Thanks for hosting, ladies.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Messiness Encourages Creativity?
Orderliness Fosters Generosity?

Change Your Desk, Change Your Life? is a blog post published recently on the Evernote blog.  Perhaps the title might just as easily have been, "Change Your Sewing Space, Change Your Life?" 

I thought the post was so interesting that I wanted to mention it with the hope that you will share your thoughts and experiences about order vs. clutter in your own life.  The article reviews findings based on research of only a relatively small sample of people so the results cannot be taken as gospel.  And I will tell you that I did not read the results of the research, just the aforementioned article discussing the results.

The research highlighted in the post suggests that
  • messiness encourages creativity
  • a tidy environment may lead to healthier food choices
  • orderliness may produce generosity
  • the act of organizing may reduce stress

Are any of the above true for you?  Or have you even noticed a correlation?  I know many of us work in areas that are stacked, piled, and cluttered with fabric and other sewing supplies.  Some say they can't create otherwise, others prefer a more tidy environment.  If  you change the work area from tidy to cluttered or messy to neat do you notice any changes in your creativity and how you work?

I'm comfortable with a messy environment when I'm in the midst of a creative project but when finished, I need to clean up a bit or the old supplies laying out hinder my thoughts toward the new project.  You?

I haven't thought about the relationship between tidiness and generosity or tidiness and food choices, nor the act of organizing reducing stress, but they will be on my mind, especially when I'm experiencing stress.  Maybe it will be time to finally organize that linen closet upstairs!

I hope you'll please share your thoughts on the above results of research.  

Do any of you use Evernote?  It's a free program which stores information, weblinks, photos and other digital files in the cloud where you can access it from any electronic device.  I use it when I remember....

Since this is such an odd kind of post, I guess this is a Really Random Thursday post.


Friday, July 7, 2017

A Blue Plaid Linen Shirt

The back of a blue, plaid, linen shirt seemed the perfect choice for the back of a small quilt.  The shirt had already been washed, dried, and cut apart, but not yet ironed.  It was large enough for my little flag quilt with inches to spare around the edges.  (Surely, the backs of gently used shirts must be a great choice for little quilts!)

blue plaid linen shirt back

Anyone who reads my blog regularly will have seen this quilt twice in the past week or two.  I apologize for that but I did want to record its making and details, finished in one week--from choosing fabrics, to sewing, to hand quilting, to binding.  Many thanks to Cheri Payne for this sweet pattern which can be found here.

Before quilting the top measured about 18" x 21".

small flag quilt top with applique from a pattern by Cheri Payne

For batting I wished for a piece of flannel but having none large enough I overlapped two small pieces of cotton batting (probably Warm and Natural) and stitched the length of them by machine.  The overlap is not obvious on the finished quilt.  Then I layered the quilt, batting, and linen back, basted the layers, and began quilting.  I think the batting was a better choice for thickness.

I don't have a great assortment of quilting thread on hand but I have some wooden spools of old "Intrinsic" thread, size 24, made by The American Thread Company.  I don't know their age but they are sound and the size is similar to, but slightly larger than, American brand quilting thread that I see at JoAnn stores.
wo old wooden spools of Intrinsic thread size 24 by The American Thread Co.

I used it.  I reasoned that this is a primitive quilt and took a made-do attitude about it.

My attitude about the quilting was also primitive and make-do.  No fine quilting stitches on this.  I would call it big stitch except that the thread is finer than I've seen most use for big stitch quilting.

It's amazing what the eye misses that close-up photo shows.  All those little details... and mistakes....  Don't look too closely at that star or you'll see some really primitive applique stitches!  Still, it held in place through the washer and dryer.

small hand appliqued and hand quilted star in primitive style

When it came to binding I thought the quilt needed either red or blue.  Most of my red shirts are plaid with lights so I chose blue shirt with low contrast blues for the binding.
quilt binding from plaid shirt

The finished quilt measures 16¼" x 20¼".  It now graces our front door and welcomes visitors.

Small primitive flag quilt from a pattern by Cheri Payne

Thanks for your patience with too many photos and details of this little quilt.  I was glad for a quick finish between other quilts and projects.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Tulips, Maybe?

I'm imagining the flowers on the left as tulips (maybe?), which makes me think of spring colors--yellows, peaches, pinks, roses.  I like these flower fabrics together but they are so very similar to each other.  The ones on the right will get dark centers but the ones on the left, whatever fabric I choose, will be just those fabrics without any additional color to each.

This is my first round of color and fabric possibilities for Cheri Payne's Basket of Plenty Block 6 sew-along on facebook.  Cheri used a dark background for her basket so I'm giving a darker-than-my-usual-neutral background a try.  I like the brown which I think looks like a darker version of the color range for the baskets I've already made.  The basket fabric is set and so is the little black crow but I think the flowers and stems will change -- or at least some of them.  I'll play  more tomorrow.

These are the pattern pieces we were given for this basket.

Those little wavy round flowers and curves and dips along the top of the flower on the left are such a challenge for me with my newly-growing but very limited turned-edge applique skills.  I will probably substitute simple round flowers like the ones on the right in the top photo.

For me, choosing the fabrics and colors takes much longer than hand stitching the shapes in place.  The more options I have, the harder it is to choose.

When you are choosing colors for a quilt (or a block in a quilt, like this one) do you choose all your fabrics before cutting and stitching or do you choose as you go along?

I'm linking this post to
> Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
> WOW at Esther's Blog
> Let's Bee Social #184 at Sew Fresh Quilts
> Midweek Makers #79 at Quilt Fabrication
> sew stitch snap SHARE at Koka Quilts
> Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts

Thanks for hosting, ladies.


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Independence Day

Little flag quilt with crows and star using Cheri Payne's primitive pattern

I hope you and your loved ones have a glorious Fourth.

My heart is full of gratitude to those courageous men who chose to declare independence from England and for the divine inspiration I believe Thomas Jefferson received to write the Declaration of Independence.  I hope never to forget the cost of freedom for us who live in the United States of America.


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