Friday, November 17, 2017

Thanks for Sharing

Today's finish has been a long time coming.  Hurray, it's a UFO no longer!

The blocks were made by members of my guild.  They were my birthday blocks in 2003.
We had a program you could sign up for at the beginning of the year.  During the year, we made blocks each month for members who had a birthday that month.  The member decided on the pattern and colors.
Since my birthday is in December, and I asked for green blocks, I got several Christmas fabrics mixed in the Buckeye Beauties.  I always thought I'd make more blocks and make a Christmas quilt, but somehow it never happened.
Until now!  I put the top together at our retreat last month, and quilted it last weekend.
It is just 16 blocks, set together with a red Christmas print border.  I'm so glad most people signed and dated their blocks.
The quilting is simple, just radiating diagonal lines, plus some machine serpentine stitch in the border.
The binding is not really a Christmas print, but the colors are okay.
Here's the back, which to me looks like old timey wallpaper.  I absolutely love this kind of fabric.
At last, a real finish.
In other news, I'm making progress with some of the blocks I finished at the retreat.
The Star Struck stars are set together.  You probably can't tell from this photo, but this top is in two pieces, one with 3 rows and one with 4 rows.  That's because I'm quilting it that way.
I'm well along on the larger section.
Don't you just love running your hands over the finished part of a quilt?
I had an unexpected free day today (my little guy is home with his daddy, so no babysitting), so I finished the blocks for the rail fence quilt on the treadle this morning.
When I was working on this at the retreat I thought I had a panel at home that would go with the blocks.  It turns out the panel I had is mostly blue, so I made this star block instead.
Our wonderful weekend retreat is the gift that just keeps on giving.

The retreat I went on with guild members was three weeks ago now, and last Wednesday night was our first guild meeting since both groups got back.  One of our members spoke about how great it was for her to be with other quilters, and I thought about how much we share when we get together.
Sure, we share irons and cutting mats and space, but we also share encouragement, expertise, ideas, excitement, stories, and laughter.  Not to mention food!
So thanks, quilters, for sharing, at retreats and shows and online and everywhere else.  Positive energy is contagious, and excitement is good for us!
Link ups as usual with Busy Hands Quilts and Crazy Mom Quilts.

Friday, November 10, 2017

All Wrapped Up

Look who's getting wrapped up in my work!  My little buddy is helping me show my "finish" for this week, the first of four Christmas quilts.  It's only a flimsy so far.
Here it is on the bed, complete with baby model.
I started this quilt just before the Ties that Bind retreat two weeks ago, and made the rest of the blocks at the retreat.  I set the blocks together and added borders during my grandson's naps this week.
Now for a closeup.  The pattern is Sticks and Stones, by Bonnie Hunter, available HERE for free.  I made a total of 56 blocks, half with red squares, the other half with green.  My version is slightly bigger than Bonnie's.
I'll take better pictures when it's quilted.
This is the box of cut pieces I took to the retreat.  Three future quilts are hiding in here.

This was my station at the retreat.  I used the Jones hand crank to make the 4 pointed star blocks.  I got all 42 done at the retreat, and am working on setting them together.
I'm excited to have at least this much done, especially since things have really changed in my life.  My daughter got a full time job, so now I have a full time babysitting gig with a 17 month old.  Going from part time to full time is a challenge, but very much worth it.  We're finding new fun things to do, like taking pictures of grandma's quilt and rearranging the blocks in the star quilt.  He has an absolutely maniacal laugh, and I can't help laughing too, even when he's taking off down the hall with a row of quilt blocks.
Guess what else happened--I WON a lovely stack of fat quarters from Brooke at Silly Mama Quilts!  The Fed Ex man brought them just as I was packing up the car for the retreat.  Here they are, laid out by my featherweight.
Now what am I going to make out of these lovelies?
Can't wait to find out.
Have a fun filled week.
I'm linking up as usual with Crazy Mom Quilts and Busy Hands Quilts.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Some Assembly Required

Thank goodness, I finally finished canning the bushel of pears I bought at the orchard!  I saved out about a dozen for eating, and put up halves and slices to have all winter.
With that "homework" out of the way, I can work on getting ready to go on a quilting retreat next weekend.
Believe it or not, there are 3 quilts in this box.  Some assembly required, of course.
A couple of weeks ago I started taming down my wild Christmas scraps, which looked like this:
I also cut into what Christmas yardage I had.
Here's what I'm going to make:
1.  Sticks and Stones quilt
This is a free pattern, designed by Bonnie Hunter but not on her web page.  You can find it HERE.  It takes 5 in. squares, 1.5 x 5 in. rectangles, and 1.5 in. squares for the center.  I'm making red blocks and green blocks.  They are 10 in. square finished.
2.  Four pointed Christmas stars
I'm adapting a Bonnie Hunter pattern here.  Yes, Bonnie again, but for scrappy quilts you can't go wrong with Bonnie Hunter.  This one is Star Struck, and you can get the free pattern HERE.  I changed it slightly, leaving out the triangles on the background rectangles.  Again, I'll be making half the blocks red and the other half green.  All the pieces are cut from 2.5 in. strips.

3.  Classic triple rail fence
I've only got 3 blocks done so far, but there are just dozens of pieces this size.  The rectangles are cut 2 in. x 5 in., so they'll finish as 4.5 in. squares.  I'm going to make all of them with one green strip, one red strip, and one light strip in the center.  Turned the right way, they look a little like the Italian flag.
But wait, there's more!
It is so hard for me to cut out quilts and delay sewing them!  Setting these aside for the retreat has been like torture.  I finally broke down and started yet ANOTHER Christmas quilt, using the triangles left over from the Four Pointed Christmas stars.
They're cute, they're scrappy, and they're making me happy!  There were a lot of 2.5 in. squares in that pile of scrap, which make great 4 patch centers for the stars.  All the triangles I've used so far came from the Four Pointed Christmas stars.  I cut the larger triangles with the Companion Angle ruler from 2.5 in. strips.  The corner squares are also cut from those strips, or from 5 in. squares I have on hand.
So, not a lot finished this week, aside from the pears.
But a whole lot started!
Also, this:
He's a very willing worker, but Grandpa and I have to remind him not to eat the leaves.
I hope your week is filled with love and laughter.
Link ups today:
Busy Hands Quilts
Crazy Mom Quilts

Friday, October 13, 2017

Apples, Cats, and Quilts

Here's one of the best things about fall--apples!  We got a bushel of Macintosh apples from the orchard yesterday.  I take my husband along to do the heavy lifting, and I usually pick out what are called "seconds" to save money.  Seconds are still good, but not perfect, so they are cheaper.  Since I fall into that category myself, I don't mind "not perfect" at all.
I peeled and sliced a batch of them, and canned some quarts for pies and crisps this winter.
The cores are stuffed into this old crock to make vinegar.  For this particular crock, I add 2 quarts of water and half a cup of sugar.  The ratio is one quarter cup sugar to each quart of water.  You want the water to cover the cores.
Then you put a piece of cheesecloth over the top and secure it with a rubber band.  It will sit on the shelf in my kitchen cupboard for a few weeks, until it smells like vinegar.  Then I'll strain it and put it in glass bottles.  The  resulting apple vinegar is good in baking, and my oldest daughter takes it to ward off a cold.
I still have to make applesauce (on the stove now as I type) and do another small batch of pie apples.  The house smells great.
This week's finishes are lap quilts.
Imagine you are an elderly person.  (If you're lucky, you'll get to be one someday.)  Now imagine it's winter, your knees are cold, and you'd like to cover up with a quilt but it's a problem with your wheelchair.  You would need a lap robe.
That's what I made this week.
The first one is flannel, top and back.  I got the pieces for the top a few weeks ago at a flea market.  There was a nice big stack of flannel rectangles, cut 2.5 in. x 3.5 in., in a bag of scraps I bought for $2.  I made 4 patches out of them, and added the light colored fabric from my stash, plus a few flannel rectangles to make 30 blocks.  Flannel borders top and bottom made the quilt square and just about the right size.
The nursing home we give these to asked for quilts about a yard square.  You can see from the yardstick I fell a little short with this one.  Not perfect.  I think it will be okay anyway.
The back is more of that cozy plaid flannel.
Here's the second quilt, made of regular cotton on the front and flannel on the back. 
The cat fabric was donated to our quilt group.  There were yards and yards of different prints.  Our leaders divided it up into half yard pieces, and handed them out as a challenge, to make a quilt for charity.  I cut all these cats out of the half yard Colleen gave me, and framed them with 2.5 in. strips from the scrap bins and baskets.
Success!  This one is a yard square!  I hope the recipient likes cats, because ...
the back is a flannel cat print from my stash.  There's no way to get away from cats with this quilt.
I'm linking up with Busy Hands Quilts, Crazy Mom Quilts, and Can I Get A Whoop Whoop this week.  It is so inspiring seeing what other people are making.
Well, back to the applesauce.  Happy fall!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Christmas is Coming

Is anybody ever really ready for Christmas?  We know it's coming, all year long, so how does it manage to sneak up on us? 
At least I've got something done, although this isn't for me.  This is my charity quilt homework from our quilt group.  Nancy P., our fearless leader, made up this kit with directions, and I took it home.
Check out the corners!  There were only 3 fabrics, but Nancy made the most of them by turning the stripes the other direction.
Here's her diagram, liberally scribbled on by me.
It was hard to get a good photo today, it's so dark and gloomy outside.  We had a thunder storm last night and it looks like it could rain any minute.
Here's the back, a Christmas print I bought at an antique store.  The binding is two different prints of a maroon color to go with the red/maroon in the green snowman print.
This quilt finishes at a good size, about 49 x 58, and will probably go to a child as a Christmas gift.  We donate to our local Volunteer Center, and they do the distributions.
So that's got me thinking about Christmas.  I promised my youngest daughter I'd make her a Christmas quilt to replace the one I made for her as a child, which finally wore out.
I got these scrap bags at quilt sales last spring/summer.  The price was right ($1 each!) so let's see what we've got.
Cowabunga!  This is a real big mess. 
I brought down the Christmas yardage too, to help me get ideas.  It's stacked in the background.
Sorting this took forever.  I was actually thinking of leaving it for a while and cleaning the bathrooms instead.  Nevertheless, I persisted.
Here it is, sorted out into something that might be manageable.  The strips on the left are narrow, and I set them aside for string blocks.  There is a long strip of green binding, sewn from several fabrics, plus some commercial binding in the center of the table.  If the strips were a regular size (like 2.5 in., 3.5 in, etc.) I stacked them (on the right).  If not, they went into the wooden bread tray to be pressed and cut.  The bigger pieces got their own pile.
There were LOTS of triangles in several sizes, and a nice stack of 2.5 in. squares.
Now, what am I going to do with this?
What would YOU do?  I would love to know! 
Cheers and Merry Christmas!

Join me at the link ups at
Busy Hands Quilts, Crazy Mom Quilts, and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Stars and Orange

Happy Friday!  It's a crisp fall day here, but mostly sunny.  This is my Stars in a Time Warp quilt, #1.
I wrote about piecing it HERE.
How new/old does something have to be before it's a UFO?  If it's less than a year, does it still count as a UFO?
I finished this top last February, and it just waited patiently to be quilted.  My friend Joey did the quilting on her long arm.  She did a wonderful Baptist Fan all over design, which she does freehand.  (Joey is amazing.)  All I had to do was make the binding and sew it on.
The backing came from my stash, a nice repro I bought on sale at J. J. Stitches in Sun Prairie.
I really wanted to bind it in red, but I'm trying to give other colors a chance.  This binding is a brown/red paisley print.
Look--orange!  This block has cheddar corners!  I am having a real love affair with orange.
It just so happens orange is the color for September for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.
Here's what I've been making for that.
First, the house blocks.
There are 9 of these this month.
Candy corn house, made with fabric given to me by a friend (thanks, Mary Z!)
School bus house.   I think a crazy bus lady lives here, driven nutty by noisy kids.
Party house!
Can you see the sky above this house?  It's from a scrap of Route 66 fabric I got at a flea market.  On the right it says Chicago in orange letters, and on the left is Oklahoma City (mostly caught in the seam allowance).  We live near Chicago, and my mom lives in Oklahoma City, so I just had to use these pieces.
The rest of the houses are tropical, with lots of yummy orange.
Now for the Buckeye Beauty blocks.  I got carried away, and made 11 of them.
This group of 6 fabrics didn't want to play nicely with others, so they are just paired with white.
I think these animals are dogs?  Maybe Corgis?
Halloween fun!
These 5 were more friendly, so I could use 2 prints and white.
Orange fish from a feed sack!
Autumn leaves from a feed sack scrap, plus odd orange shapes in the 4 patches.
I think orange is my new favorite color.
Whatever color is your favorite, I hope you get to sew with it this week.

Today's link ups are:
Busy Hands Quilts
Crazy Mom Quilts
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Rainbow Scrap Challenge