Saturday, August 18, 2018

Crossing the Finished Line

Finally, FINALLY, I have finishes to show!  According to my notes, I have not finished a quilt since June.  It feels good to accomplish something at last.
This little quilt came to me as squares cut from striped fabric, in a zip lock bag from the sale at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts in June.  The border was in the bag too.  I set it like a rail fence.  (You can read about the piecing HERE if you care to.)Mrs. Pfaff is back in working order, and together we got the simple quilting done.
The back is from my stash, and says "baby girl" with drawings of toys and bunnies.  The binding came from the sale, too, but wasn't in the same bag.
The quilt will go to a baby girl that needs it.
Guess what these are.  Mittens for cats?  Drumstick warmers?
Skillet handle pot holders!  A friend of my daughter is getting married, and requested these.  I made them up with scraps of bright prints and 100% cotton batting.  I used the Youtube tutorial HERE to get on the right track, although there are lots of other directions and all seem to be about the same.  Now I need to make some for me.

At last, the Ohio Star is quilted and bound, and on the bed.  I had a problem with it that I'll tell you about sometime.
Here's what I decided on for the border quilting.  It's a simple 4 strand cable, with gentle curves.  As you can see, I put the binding on by machine.  I'm saving my hand stitching for other projects.

Last but not least, orange!  I'm making blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge in the color for August.
Mary Ann's basket blocks in orange reproduction fabrics are on the design wall.  I actually made 10 of them this time.
Orange is not such a common color in repro fabrics.  I dragged in everything I could find, including cheddar and brown.
Stripes are fun in repros, especially when they go all different ways.
We are getting close to the end of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for 2018!  I'm actually starting to plan how to put all these blocks together.

And now for something completely different.
My oldest grandson got new shoes.  These are something to do with Lebron James.  If you look closely, you can see--these shoes are quilted!  No joke, the upper is a knit fabric quilted with a sort of diagonal crosshatch.  The fabric is intentionally tucked irregularly and sewn.
I think these are just about the ugliest shoes I've ever seen, but don't tell my Big Buddy.  He thinks they're amazing.
Have an amazing week, everybody, whether things get finished or not.
Cheers for reading,
 Linking up with
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop
So Scrappy
Oh Scrap

Saturday, August 11, 2018

I Spy Charm Squares Quilt

Good morning, and happy Saturday!  This is my I Spy quilt, made with 5 in. (cut) squares.

I had planned to share the pattern for this quilt, but have been requested to take it down by another blogger who shared a similar quilt.  Her quilt is not exactly the same, and is not an I Spy quilt, but in the interest of peace on the internet I am complying.

I honestly did not copy her quilt, and I even had a hard time finding it after I knew it was out there.  As a retired librarian I am very conscious of copyright law.  It is never my intention pass off others' work as my own.
I'm still happy about this quilt, and it will go to a child who needs it after it is quilted.

I'm hoping to quilt the I Spy quilt soon, since I'm almost done with the Ohio Star.
Here's where I am today:
Everything is quilted except the outer border.  I'm feeling kind of lazy about this.  I know I just need to suck it up and get this done.
I'm auditioning these stencils for the border.  Once I decide, it will be time for the dreaded marking.  I actually like the quilting part.  If I can see the darn marks!
Here's my little buddy, in his orange shirt, watering the flowers (some orange) with his orange watering can.  He is just the best helper ever.

Have a wonderful week, and don't forget to have a little fun.
Linking up with:
Busy Hands Quilts
Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Saturday, August 4, 2018

In the Making

My favorite music this week should be Schubert's Unfinished Symphony.  Much is started, nothing is finished (yet).  It's all in the making.
Above is the Ohio Star reproduction quilt.  Mrs. Pfaff and I have been busy quilting, but progress is slow.  At least each of the two pieces is quilted as much as it can be before joining, and is joined together on the top.
This is the back, waiting for the hand stitching.  When I get that done, I'll quilt the area near the join on both sections, and then the borders.  There is hope for finishing this UFO yet.
I'm also piecing an I Spy quilt made of 5 in. squares.  I hope to get the top done today, but I won't get it quilted until the Ohio Star is done.  (It's a promise I made myself--don't set aside the Ohio Star to do other quilts.  I want that quilt done!)
The I Spy has been lots of fun.  I have so many great novelty prints, and I can use lots of them in this quilt.  Stay tuned--I'll share the pattern on next week's blog.
I've been thinking about orange this week.  It's the color of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Quilt Challenge.  I absolutely LOVE orange.  I think this will be one of my favorite months.
My Little Buddy wanted to pick the orange cherry tomatoes, but I convinced him to wait.  This variety is red when ripe, but a very pretty orange when immature.
This is my roll of orange 2.5 in. strips for the Fly Away Home quilt.  I can hardly wait to cut into them.
But first, I have to deal with this:
25 pounds of peaches and a dozen ears of corn, fresh from the West Bend Farmer's Market.  The peaches need to rest a bit and "air-ripen" before I can them, but I'll blanch, cut, and freeze the corn today.
Sometimes I wonder why I go out and buy more work for myself.  On the other hand, there's peach pie, even in the winter.  And delicious Wisconsin corn. 
Here's another project--what to do with this gorgeous olive oil can?  I removed the top and washed it (after we used all the olive oil, of course).  I might put utensils in it or something.  Any ideas?

If I'm to make a dent in any of the projects I have planned, I had better get to work.  And my Little Buddy had better start taking reliable naps again.  (Sigh.)

Finishing quilts does make me do a little happy dance.  But there is really no hurry. I get a lot of joy just in the making.

Wishing you joy this week, in whatever you do.

Linking up with Angela at Soscrappy
Myra at Busy Hands Quilts  
Sarah at Can I Get A Whoop Whoop
Cynthia at Oh Scrap

Friday, July 27, 2018

Todays and Yesterdays

It's the last red week for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and my Mary's Basket blocks are done. ( I looked back at the pattern the other day, and realized the name in the book was Mary Ann's Basket, so I've been calling it the wrong name all along.  Ack!)
The blocks are pictured here with this little album.  I found it in an antique shop in Milwaukee several years ago.  It's not a photograph album, rather, a sort of autograph book.  The red velvet cover is in sad shape.  Most of the entries were made in the late 1890s, with a few earlier. The album's owner was a schoolgirl named Helen Emeline Zastrow, whose name in written on the front and back inside covers. 
It was a fad in the 19th century (and even later) for girls to get their friends and relatives to sign their books.  Many of the signers wrote little poems or quoted sayings.  One of my favorites of these is this:
"Our to-days and yesterdays are the blocks with which we build."
Very sincerely,
Clara Spies
Sept. 21, 1891.

Of course, having this made me want to know more about Helen Zastrow's life.  As amazing as it might seem, there were lots of Helen Zastrows living in Milwaukee in the relevant time period.  I believe the book's owner to have been born in 1883, the daughter of William (Wilhelm) Zastrow and his wife Albertine Penn Zastrow.  William's parents were German immigrants, but he was born in Milwaukee, like his daughter.
Unfortunately, Helen died in 1907 at age 23.  She was unmarried.  I have no idea how she died.  She is buried in the same cemetery with her parents and grandparents.

So that's a yesterday.  Here's another.
Last Saturday was the July meeting of the Wisconsin Quilt Study Group.  The topic for our meeting this time was antique sewing machines (I gave the talk) but we always have antique quilt show and tell.  This distressed quilt from the 1930s has red print sashing, and cute little 8 pointed stars for cornerstones.  Sadly anonymous, maker unknown, but a fun piece to look at.

What about today?
Good news!  Mrs. Pfaff is back, and back in action!  We're quilting a UFO, and making real progress.
My daughter brought me this mega zucchini (thanks to Google, I now know how to spell it!).  It was hiding in her garden.  I'm picturing lots of zucchini bread in our future.

I'm not sure what else the future will bring, but these are the blocks I'm building with--quilt blocks!
I'm wishing sunshine and quilt blocks for you this week, too.
Linking up and Whooping Up at Confessions of a Fabric Addict 
Busy Hands Quilts
So Scrappy (home of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge)
Oh Scrap

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Keep 'Em Flying!

Keep 'Em Flying! was a slogan in World War II.  Average citizens were helping the war effort in all sorts of ways, including buying war bonds to fund airplanes, ships, and materiel.  No, I'm not old enough to actually remember this history (but my mother is!)

I was thinking of this slogan when I was making my Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks this week.  I'm not doing anything as serious as fighting the Nazis, of course.  But I still want to keep 'em flying.

Flying geese, that is.
Here are my Fly Away Home red blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge in July.
I am making lots and lots of flying geese for the RSC this year, and I thought I'd share how I do it.

First, I'm sort of curmudgeonly.  I don't like drawing lines on fabric.  Okay, I CAN'T STAND drawing lines.  I will only do it grudgingly, if I have to.  So I need a method that doesn't involve drawing those @#$% lines.

Also, I'm a fabric miser.  I hate methods that waste fabric.  And I find that I don't use those "bonus" units if they're too small.  It's a lot of work to press and trim them, if you're making lots of geese.  And it's hard to plan what size these bonus units will be. 

Some methods make more than one flying geese unit at a time.  That's great, if you need identical units, but I often don't.  So then I've got another unit to put somewhere.

Another pet peeve is needing two different sizes of strips/squares to make the flying geese units.  I've already got enough odd-sized scraps. 

So, with all those personal idiosyncrasies to deal with, I've ended up with this method.

I use two rulers, the Easy Angle and the Companion Angle.  I've had them for years, and even wore the markings off of one and had to replace it.  
First, I cut the two smaller triangles from the background strip with the Easy Angle.
Next, I cut the "goose" triangle (AKA quarter square triangle) from the print strip with the Companion Angle.
Did you notice the placement of the ruler?  I move it in from the end of the strip.  Then when I've cut the "goose" triangle, I also have another half-square triangle cut.
After I cut the goose triangle, I use the Easy Angle to make the end of the strip square again.  This gives me another half square triangle to use in a different project.  Sometimes I plan and cut both projects at once.   These half square triangles are very useful, and I know just what size they are because of the size of the strip (in this case, 2.5 in. unfinished).

All that's left to do is sew!  First one side:

 Then, press gently, and add the second white triangle on the other side.
Ta-da!  Flying geese unit!

We are so lucky to live now, when there are so many new methods and such great ways of communicating.  There are really no wrong ways to make flying geese, or any other units.  We all get to choose what works for us.

When I'm not making blocks, I'm enjoying the summer with Little Buddy and his big brother Big Buddy.
Here's Little Buddy, just in from the garden.  His face and shirt are covered with raspberries, and he's holding cherry tomatoes.  How's this for red?
These three jokers were playing on the living room floor.  Bella keeps giving them doggie kisses.  Yuck!
Life is, after all, a bowl of cherries.  I will be very sad when cherry season is over.

Til next week, Keep 'Em Flying!
Linking up with So Scrappy
and Oh Scrap.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Inchworms, Misfit Pickles, and Wagon Trails

Red is our color for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this month.  It's another red week here, smack dab in the middle of July.  Our little flag is still flying, even though my Little Buddy keeps taking it out of the flower pot, waving it like he's in a parade, and jamming it in again.
There's red inside the house too.  The windowsill in my living room is no longer the Dead Plants Society it was at the end of the winter.  Old plants are cleaned up or tossed out, and new plants are growing and blooming.

We're still picking raspberries, red and black, and we're finding some stowaways on them.  Can you see the little green worm in the bottom left of the photo above?  It's an inchworm.  Who knew they were fond of raspberries?  Both Little Buddy and his 13 year old brother were interested in watching the inchworms move.  I get them out of the raspberries with a leaf and put them back in the yard.  Science lesson in disguise.
My favorite science is cooking, and I'm doing some small batch canning this year.  After all, we don't need huge amounts of canned goods now that there are only two of us living here.  These three jars of sweet pickle relish were made from "misfit pickles".  I buy them from a vendor at the West Bend Farmers Market, and that's how he labels bags of slightly less than perfect pickles.  They're often oddly shaped or small, but are perfectly good.  The misfit label makes me smile, and my mind goes back to the Island of Misfit Toys in the old Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas special.
We had good nap times this week, so I got my Wagon Trail blocks done for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  This is 8 of them, side by side.
Can you see the dogs in the light print?   I used this twice in my Wagon Trail blocks, as it's a favorite of mine because ...
it looks like my dog Bella!  She's a classic hound, like the dogs in the conversation print.  This is a photo from Christmas, when she was looking out the window, anxiously awaiting the rest of the family.

There will definitely be more red around here this month.  I'm making 3 RSC quilts this year.
I'm looking forward to seeing what everybody else is doing with their red scraps.
Have a lovely, red-letter day!
Cheers for reading,
Linking up with
Scrap Happy Saturday (at Soscrappy)
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop
Oh Scrap