Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Lovely Year of Finishes - Finished April Goal, Setting May Goal

I've successful met my April goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes  - Complete a top consisting of 120 six inch churn dash blocks made of civil war reproduction fabrics. 

I knew I would be too busy to get it quilted and bound so didn't include that as part of my goal although I did purchase some muslin for the back, just in case.

My May goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes is to finish an ABC alphabet quilt for my niece Genevieve who is due in June.   I participate in an Alphabet I Spy swap every year and go ahead and make up Happy Blocks so they are ready when I need them.  I iron on textured letters.   I'm going to replace S for Spaceships with S for Seattle Seahawks.    Strange story about that.  Years ago I received the Seahawks fabric by mistake when I placed an online order. I was told to keep it and actual order was later sent.  I had no clue what to do with the fabric except to cut it up and use with other b/w fabric.   Funny thing...last year when my niece got married I read that she got engaged at a Seattle Seahawks game. Who knew her fiance that she met in college in IA was from Seattle and loved the Seahawks!!! 

Odds and Ends but Mostly Odds

I finished another 12 inch block for my Crazy Farm lap quilt.  The Crazy Quilt Journal Project somehow keeps me on track with getting at least one block completed per month.  

I embroidered a windmill in back stitches. On the sunflower patch I added a strip of ribbon with sunflowers on it. I tacked it down with some blind stitches and added some tiny sunflowers of straight stitches and french knots which look more like rudbeckia (black-eyed-susans) than sunflowers to me.  Then I crocheted a sunflower and tacked it on. (Note to self: maybe I should add some french knots in the center to make it look more like the sunflowers on the ribbon.) 

I didn't want to detract much from the printed fabric so just did a bunch of straight stitches in a v-shape. On the lime green section I did some lazy-daisy flowers in variegated thread.  The lazy daisy stitch is one of the first stitches my grandma taught me. 

And here we have a tractor (button) without a driver in the fly stitch field. 

Here I did a stem stitch in perle #8 in kind of a pea vine free form squiggly meander and then added some leaves.   

Finally, I added a feather stitch with straight stitches and french knots. 

And here is how it looks joined up with three other blocks. 

For Christmas I like to give sets of embroidered dishtowels, crocheted dish cloths and potholders. I finished up a dishtowel yesterday as well as a dish cloth.  That finished dish rag look wonky but it isn't. I'm in the middle of another dishcloth that I hope to finish today. (My retired husband does the dishes and swears by these.)

Slow Sunday Stitching slows down for me in the spring and summer months since I spend a lot of my time off work out in the garden but I still like to stitch a few minutes each evening after dinner and before bed so...

I hope to get a couple of blocks ready for CQ and another dishtowel stamped and ready for embroidery some time today, Slow Stitching Sunday. 

Join the virtual sewing bee, Slow Sunday Stitching, at Kathy's Quilts, if you are doing any hand work. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Purple Scraps (String and Crumb Edition)

I've used up most of my purple scraps this month and just have several purple chunks left. 

This week I used strings in four nine inch wonky log cabins.  Even though wonky I used the traditional red center. 

I also made four 8 inch string blocks...

...Ten 6 inch crumb blocks...

...and my purple vintage Sunbonnet Sue from postage stamp sized (1.5 inch) scraps.  

Got Scraps? 
Use them up and join the Rainbow Scrap Challenge ScrapHappy Saturday linky party each week. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

I Can't Believe I Made This!

70 x 85
Double Wedding Ring
Hand Quilted
I started this in February 2013. 
I finished it last night. 

The Back Story:  Isabelle (a.k.a.  Izzy or Belle or Bellarina), one of my granddaughters,  is 9 years old now. Several times in the last few years she has told me I'm going to live at least long enough to attend her wedding. Maybe she knows something I don't know. I hope she's not getting married for a long, long time!

On January 14, 2013 a driver talking on a cell phone ran a red light and hit me broadside - $6,000 worth of damage to the car. I tried to turn out of the path of the collision and came about an inch from hitting another car head on. I was not hurt - just shook up a little. 

After that my granddaughter's words came back to me...that I would live long enough to attend her wedding.   That got me to thinking I should start on a wedding quilt for her, finish it and store it away. That way...if I'm not able to attend her wedding I will be there in spirit.

Over the years Isabelle's favorite colors have switched between red and purple.  So, the color palette for her quilt that I chose was red, purple and blue. The idea to use yellow for the background came from a comment someone left on one of my blog posts when I was showing off my arches at the beginning of the process. 

Izzy's paternal grandmother passed away in June 2013 at the age of 58 which made me more aware than ever of my own mortality and has seemed to make more urgent my need to leave something of myself behind. 

My eyes aren't always functioning properly so I see a few arches where the fabrics are wrong side up or a couple of arches where a wrong piece of fabric was used. 
That shows it was made by me and that I'm not perfect. It also shows that little imperfections do not take away from overall beauty. 

This is my first experience with plain old-fashioned hand quilting. I learned a lot - how to bury knots, the "rocking motion", how to use a thimble, what thimble I liked best, how to make smaller and smaller stitches. I was frustrated many times but determined to overcome all the challenges. 

I now have to figure out how I'm going to store it away until a very special wedding day. 

I'm not anxious for my grandkids to grow up and get married. It may be stored away for a very long time. 

I can't get any good photos of the hand quilting. I used templates on several sections. 

 After a washing the quilt is so crinkly soft. 

A nickname we have for Isabelle is Bellerina - she loves to sing and dance.  I found this 1930s reproduction Ballerina fabric and just had to include it in her quilt for a little fun. 

I can't believe I made this.
It was a lot of work but all worth it for a very special person. 

I have two more grandchildren. Hmmmm.....

If I have any stitching time today, Slow Stitching Sunday, I'll probably be trying to catch up on my crazy quilting projects.  

Slow Stitching? 
Join the virtual sewing bee - Slow Stitching Sunday - at Kathy's Quilts. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

She Spent Money We Didn't Have on a Plethora of Purple Clothes She Wore Nowhere

There is a reason I don't really HEART purple.  It dates waaaaay back to childhood. 
Despite that I do have some purple scraps.  This week the scraps were all 1.5 inch. 
Some of them have been made into 3 inch spools since I didn't get many made last year.  
And I do have a heart. 

I also added a couple of Vintage Butterfly quilt blocks to my collection and that left a couple of butterflies flying free. 

Got Scraps?   

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Very easy to make and perfect for 30s reproduction fabrics. 
Interested?  Sign up for swap going on now with members of the 30sFabricQuilting Yahoo Group.  Join us.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Addicted to BS

Yes, I'm addicted to BS...block swapping, that is. 

Over on the Block Swappers Yahoo group we have been swapping 3 inch 9 patches for years.  Last year I finished up a Sister's Choice quilt using them. 

This time around I've been tackling a Jack's Chain quilt using them.   
(Sheesh I have a lot of loose threads in my sewing room). 

The Y seams in this quilt are a challenge for me but I think I'm finally getting the hang of it. 

We also swap 4 patches. 
A few years ago I made a Buckeye Beauty quilt using the 4 patches and HSTs. 

Now I've been working on an Arkansas Crossroads quilt. 

I'm using scrappy blues for the corners on the X blocks and scrappy whites/creams for the X themselves. 

And we swap HSTs. 

I assemble them into large Depression Blocks. 

Because I LOVE Depression Block Quilts.  
I made a Depression Block quilt using smaller HSTs that my youngest son confiscated. 

And as if that isn't enough to swap...well, we are swapping a second round of the dots and dashes shoo fly blocks that I just love.  I couldn't decide which fabric should go in which spot so mixed them up and tried both arrangements. 

This is going to be one happy quilt.  I think I'll make a BIG quilt to put on the bed in the winter when the blues are so difficult to shake.  How can you feel blue when you are snuggled under such happy blocks? 

And, if that's not enough...we are going to be swapping red, white and blue nine patches in civil war repro fabrics.    I've really been hoarding too many cw fabrics for too long so I'm glad someone suggests what I do with them. 

So, if you like swapping or are addicted to BS then join the Block Swappers Yahoo Group and sign up. All swaps are centralized so no need to fear you won't receive anything back. And, I've never been disappointed with anything swapped.  The 3 inch 9 patch, HST and 4P swaps take place several times a year. 

And since what I've mentioned today would be on my Design Wall if I had one I'm linking up to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times where I always see something I want to try. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

I Can See the Finish Line!

I've been hand quilting a  Double Wedding Ring for my granddaughter, Isabelle, who is only 9. After her paternal grandmother died two years ago Isabelle told me I would at least live until her wedding.  I decided to make a quilt for her hope chest so I could be there in spirit if not in body. 

This has been my first attempt at hand quilting with quilting thread.    Within the last couple of weeks I finished quilting the center of the rings. I used a stencil and marked with blue tailor's chalk which is slowly disappearing on its own. 

I first stitched in the ditch around the rectangles in the arches in order to practice the hand stitching and making even stitch lengths.   Then I used a stencil with hearts to mark and stitch each of the squares where the melons meet.  Then I stitched the centers. And now...

I'm stitching inside the melons about 1/4 inch from the seam line. I probably should mark the stitching line but I haven't and I'm almost finished with stitching all those centers.   I think I have about 4-5 left which I hope to finish some time today, Slow Stitching Sunday.    And then I will try to figure out what to stitch in the four corners.   And then I will try to find where I put the rest of the background fabric so I can make binding.  And then, next Slow Stitching Sunday, you may see me stitching on binding! 

Are you doing any hand work today?  If so, join our virtual Slow Stitching Sunday sewing bee. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Purple Haze 2.5

I reached into my 2.5 inch purple scraps this week to make my blocks.   I started making these 5 inch Little Monkeys last year but didn't have many purple scraps then so I added some blocks this year. 

And I've made a few Little Twinklers from purple 2.5 inch scraps.  These will finish at 6 inches. 

And finally, from the 2.5 inch scraps I made some smaller sized Lozenges that will finish 2x4.5 inches

If you have some purple scraps this month join the Rainbow Scrap Challenge - use up those scraps and show off what you've done every ScrapHappy Saturday. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Have You Heard of Wrap-A-Smile?

Last October Mollie of the Heartstrings  Quilt Project and Yahoo Group challenged us to make heartstring quilts in black and white.  I added a few polka dots and ended up with three tops 40x58. 

I used some flannel with cats for the back and finally got them quilted and bound. 

I am donating these to Wrap-A-Smile.     Wrap-A-Smile provides quilts for kids who undergo cleft lip/cleft palate surgery provided by Rotaplast. 

Some of the hospitals where the operations take place on these Rotaplast Missions have no linens and the quilts cover the OR tables.  

The hospitals have no electric warmers to keep the children warm after surgery so quilts are used.   And each child gets to take a quilt home after surgery - a home where often the quilt is the only item of value other than the family's cooking implements.  

And what was in the grass under the clothesline?  One single crocus I almost missed.  Finally some sign of Spring. Whoop, whoop! 

Speaking of Whoop, Whoop...I'm linking up to Confessions of a Fabric Addict where everyone Whoops it up on Fridays.