Saturday, April 4, 2020

Sewing and Hoping

I'm trying to use my time at home wisely.  It's amazing what I can get done when I'm not babysitting, but I'd give anything to have life back the way it was.  Until that happens, I'm going to keep sewing.  These small quilts got done this week for the Hands 2 Help 2020 Challenge.
First up is a log cabin quilt, with rather large logs.  This has been in my UFO pile for a long time (years!).  The blocks were made at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts.  I used to take my more portable treadle sewing machine there, and demonstrate using it.  I always offered to let people try it.  Some had used treadles before, and did great.  Most adults were afraid to try, but I did teach several children who took to it like ducks to water.
Later, I finished the blocks and repaired any that weren't sewn well as I completed the top.  And there it sat, in the closet, until I found time to quilt it.  It measures 42 in. x 62 in.  Now it's done, and will go to Quilts of Compassion.  Right now they're making masks, but their main objective is giving quilts to people after natural disasters. 
My friend Debbie C. in Madison gave me these red scraps.  Aren't they great?
I used them to make this little quilt.  It measures 36 in. x 36 in., and will be donated to Quilts for Cure.  They will give it to a child being treated for cancer. 
Here's the back and binding, after the quilt was washed.  I've used the hot air balloon fabric before in children's quilts.  To me, it means hope.
The last little quilt this week, Tiny Churn Dash, is also going to Quilts for Cure.  The blocks measure 5 in. finished, and the fabric in the unpieced squares is a cheery butterfly print that I have also used many times in donation quilts.  Butterflies mean hope, too.  This one is also going to Quilts for Cure.

The backing for both of these little quilts plus the blue border for the balloon quilt came from my local quilt shop, Sew Many Pieces in Richfield, Wisconsin.  It is really nice fabric, and I am so grateful for it.  I hope our quilt shops will still be in business when this cruel pandemic is over.

In other news, my diary quilt block for March is done.  I had kind of forgotten about it, so I had to go back and try to remember what I did each day.
Each block is divided into four quadrants.  Three of the four have seven strips, one for each day of the week.  The fourth quadrant has some strips divided in half, for two days, so I can get all 31 days into the block.  (Clear as mud?  Click HERE to see my first post on this idea.)
This is the section for the first week in March.  March 1st, I walked the dog, March 2nd I worked on the Shoo fly blocks, March 3rd, we went to the library, etc.
March 5th is a very special day.  See the baby fabric strip with the footprints?  That marks the day my baby grandson, that I call Baby Buddy, was born. 

Besides sewing, I am getting some work done around here, like cleaning out closets.  Some of the household chores are actually fun.  I made maple cranberry almond granola this week.  The house smelled great when it was in the oven.  Both the cranberries and the maple syrup are Wisconsin products.
It was high time to wash these quilts that we use in the family room.  We got a nice spring day yesterday, just perfect for drying quilts on the line.  Now they smell fresh, (and not so much like dog!).
The orchid on my windowsill is treating us to a show again this year.  It reminds me to keep going, and to keep hoping.
Emily Dickinson had this to say:
Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul - and sings the tunes without the words - and never stops at all.
I'm going to think of that today as I'm making masks for local hospitals.
Keep hoping, and don't stop.  And take good care of yourself.
Cheers for reading,

Linking up with:
Angela at So Scrappy
Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Alycia at Finished or Not Finished Friday
Cynthia at Oh Scrap

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Scraps of Fabric, Lots of Time

Welcome to Treadlestitches!  As you can see, I jumped on the mask making band wagon, and made these homemade virus masks.  I only got 10 of them made before finding out hospitals may not want or need them.  If they change their minds, I'm ready to make more.  Meanwhile, I'm sending some of these to my mom for when she goes to the grocery.  I think they're probably better than nothing.  I wish there was something more I could do to help our medical workers and first responders.
My daughter is still on maternity leave, and will be for at least another month, so I'm not babysitting the grandchildren right now.  I'm trying to use this time to get some organizing and cleaning done in the house, and of course enjoy my sewing projects.
I finished my Shoo Fly turquoise blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for March.  I don't have a lot of the right color in reproduction fabrics.  These are "turquoise-ish".

Recently, a friend bought a copy of Successful Scrap Quilts From Simple Rectangles, by Judy Turner and Margaret Rolfe, and recommended it to me.  (Thanks, Debby!)  Turns out I had it in my gigantic quilt book stash, but I had sort of forgotten about it.
I had even made some blocks based on a pattern in the book.  Time to dig them out and finish that top!  The pattern is called An Old Fashioned Quilt, by Margaret Rolfe.  Perfect for me and my scraps.
The block itself is very simple, just one square and six rectangles.  Every other block is rotated 90 degrees to get this look.
I based my quilt on the pattern in the book, but changed the block size.  My blocks finish 8 in. square, and are set 8 across and 10 down.  With borders, the quilt is a twin size, 72 in. x 80 in.  It will be a donation quilt.
The fabric for the border is something I bought second hand.  I could tell it was older by the width--I could easily get 42 in. strips across, which sadly I can't do with most newer fabric.

Last week's finish:

Last week, I showed you my feedsack Friendship quilt.  That post was getting long, so I saved the back for today.
The back is made from old feed and flour sacks, all from mills in Wisconsin.  This one is Old Elm Feed, which is still in business!  They are no longer in Elm Grove, where they started, but have moved to Sussex, Wisconsin, and sell mostly bird seed and bird feeders.  When we can move about the country again, I plan to check them out.
Here's another Old Elm sack, this one in a green and red print.  This sack once held 100 pounds of feed.  A sack this size is more than one yard of fabric.
Here's another one of the sacks on the back.  This one came from the generic-sounding Feed Supplies, Inc.  It even has the name of the town I live in printed on it.
The advertising seems to be saying this feed is good for just about any animals you might have--horse, bull, cow, sheep, hog, rooster, hen, chicks, goose, or duck.

I enjoyed preserving these old sacks as the backing of the quilt, although it was challenging at times.  The sacks are used, so there can be holes or tears.  Plus some of these started out with some mildew,  and had to be soaked in OxyClean.

These are difficult times, for sure.  But we can get through it.
Here are my top 5 things that keep me going:

5.  Tea!  I still have some!
4.  Cooking shows on TV (and less time with the news).
3. Walks with my dog in the spring sunshine (when we get any)
2. Sewing!
1. Family--Phone calls, pictures, and text messages with the family I can't visit, and time with my hubby here at home.

What keeps you going?  Whatever it is, I wish lots of it for you this week.
Cheers for reading,

Linking up with:
Angela at So Scrappy
Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Alycia at Finished or Not Finished Friday
Cynthia at Oh Scrap 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Keep Calm and Keep Sewing!

Good morning! Here's one of the things cheering me up this week.  My orchid is coming to life again, and I bought the orange Gerbera daisy at the grocery store the last time I went.  Outside it's a typical Wisconsin spring, alternating between rainy and cold, but inside flowers are blooming.
Quilts are happening inside, too!  My dog Bella is helping me show a quilt I finished this morning.  Pam, a very talented quilter in our guild designed this as a Block of the Month, starting last February.
The blocks were based on the Friendship Star pattern.  It was like working a puzzle, putting all these blocks of different sizes together, but Pam had good directions.  She urged us to use our creativity, and I took her up on it!  All the little Friendship Star blocks are my additions.
Pam added sewing machines cut from a panel to her quilt, and I liked that so much I added one, too.  It's a hand crank, of course, a people-powered machine, although I pieced the blocks on my treadle instead of one of my hand cranks.
The fabrics in this quilt are a mix of feed sacks, vintage fabrics that are not feed sacks, and 1930s reproduction fabrics.  It was fun deciding which fabrics to use each month, although I always made a giant mess dragging out scraps and auditioning them.
I'll show you the back of the quilt next week.  There's a story there.
I made this with the scraps!  It's a bread cloth.  I bake a lot of bread, rolls, etc. even when we're not in the middle of a pandemic.  Usually I cover the rising dough with a dish towel, but I've always thought it would be nice to have a special cloth for this.  Now I do!  (By the way, in this photo the cloth is covering pizza dough for last night's supper.  The plant is basil, which smells like heaven every time I brush against it.)
The back is a flour sack from "Mother's Best" flour.
They call it "The flour with a flavor".  Wonder what the flavor was?  This bag once held 49 pounds of flour.  Because the U.S. government standardized flour quantities during World War II, we know this bag was produced before that.
Continuing with the 1930s fabrics, this month's house blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge are done.  It was hard coming up with teal/turquoise/aqua fabrics that would play well together in the blocks.
I like all 3 of them, but this one is my hands-down favorite.

Now that all these projects are done, I can spend the rest of the weekend making face masks as requested by hospitals.  Goodness knows, I've got plenty of fabric to use.

I hope all of you are well, and coping with the changes we have had to make.  We are not the first generation to deal with terrible realities, and sadly we won't be the last.  We can get through this better if we work together.

However, I have nothing good to say about toilet paper hoarders.

Be safe, be strong, be well.
And happy International Quilting Day!
Cheers for reading,

Linking up with:
Alycia at Finished or Not Finished Friday
Angela at So Scrappy
Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict 
Cynthia at Oh Scrap

Saturday, March 14, 2020

A Very Happy Chaos

Here's why I didn't blog last week!  Isn't he a peach?  My youngest grandson was born on March 5th, and I took care of his brothers (and the dog and cat) until he and Mom and Dad came home from the hospital.  Our whole family is blessed beyond measure.

As far as quilting, nothing is finished.  After catching up around here and getting some routine doctor appointments out of the way, I'm working on several projects at once.

I did get my Text Me A Quilt blocks done for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  The color for the month is turquoise, which I don't have a lot of, but I managed to scrape these together.  Here's my next idea on how to set them.
My blocks are made with my usual novelty fabrics, and I noticed something I probably should have seen before.  Novelty fabrics often look weird cut in small pieces.
The light cats here are okay, but what about those waving cat hands?
It gets weirder.  Poor little Daniel Tiger is cut in pieces.
Believe it or not, this print has a sheep riding a bicycle.  Who could tell?

These cute little frogs are sadly sliced up.

A couple of these squares are okay, you can tell it's Sponge Bob, but you have to guess what the words were supposed to say.  (Can you guess?)

This is the worst one.  These poor swimming ladies are headless!

If I had bigger pieces of these scraps, maybe I could have fussy cut the squares so they'd come out better.  Or maybe I should just not worry about it.  It could be fun for kids to look through these silly fabrics.

In other news, this.

I'm putting the borders on this donation quilt top.  It was a kit cut by a member of our marvelous charity committee, and all the fabrics were donated (we get the most amazing donated fabric!). I got the piecing done a couple of weeks ago, but have been procrastinating on the borders.  It's so big I can't really lay it out here, I'll have to move it to another room.

I might actually get more quilting, sorting and cleaning done in the next few weeks, because I'm on "maternity leave"!  Actually, my daughter is on maternity leave from her job while she looks after her new baby, but that means my Little Buddy is home instead of here.  We "borrowed" him yesterday, partly to give his mom a break but mostly because we missed him.
Here are my little ones together, Baby Buddy and Little Buddy.
Life is very, very good.

As for the virus, let's all be safe.  Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands is my new motto.
Have a lovely week, and thanks for reading.

Linking up with:
Angela at So Scrappy (Home of the Rainbow Scrap Quilt Challenge)
Alycia at Finished or Not Finished Friday
Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Orange Orphan

Happy Leap Day, everyone!  And welcome to Treadlestitches.  It's the last day of February, of course, and it's also the end of orange month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, so it was a good time for me to finish up this little orphan block quilt.
Last year, our guild had a block of the month mystery quilt, presented by our own Pam W.  The theme was friendship, and each month, Pam would give us a block pattern variation on Friendship Star.
I started out making my blocks with vintage, feedsack, and reproduction fabrics, mostly in reds and blues.  Because this particular block pattern was handed out in October, I went nuts and made it in orange and green Halloween prints.  It did not play well with the others, so I set it aside and made another block in red and blue.  (I'm quilting that quilt now, and hope to have it done next month.)
To finish off this orange orphan block, I added a double row of 2.5 in. (cut) squares, again using vintage, feedsacks, and repro fabrics.  Some of these had come out to play recently in my house blocks.  I bound it with a solid orange from my basement "collection".
Isn't this back wild?  It's a vintage fabric, and was made into a curtain when I found it at a flea market.  I'm guessing 1930s to 1940s for when it was originally printed.
Here's the curtain.  It was sewn nicely at the top, but not hemmed, and had little or no wear.  I wonder if it was ever used.  I also wonder what it would have looked like as a curtain.  It would certainly add some color to a room.
I have this little wooden quilt hanger in my dining room, and I would like to have more quilts to hang here so I can change them out with the seasons and holidays.  When I got this quilt finished, I just couldn't wait til October to hang it up and see what it looks like.  So this is a preview.  I'll put it away now and put up some spring quilts.
Hurray, one less orphan block.
In other news:
My Little Buddy asked me to take his picture.  He's sitting in the toy dinosaurs bin, and holding one of his favorite T. Rex dinosaurs.  I want to give him lots of attention now.  He's getting a baby brother no later than next Saturday.
We were finger painting this week.  At first he would just put two blobs of paint on a page and say he was done.  We progressed to making this masterpiece together.
What do you think of this paper towel?  I really love the "quilting"!
The joy of quilting is everywhere.

I'm going to a quilt show today, the first of the season here, so I had better get going.  I'm wishing the joys of quilting for you this week--viewing, touching (only NOT at the quilt show!), and creating.
Cheers for reading,

Linking up with:
Sarah at Can I Get A Whoop Whoop
Angela at So Scrappy (Home of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge)
Alycia at Finished or Not Finished Friday
Cynthia at Oh Scrap

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Cut, Sew, Quilt!

Good morning, and welcome to Treadlestitches!  I thought I'd take a picture of our snow this morning, since we might get up above freezing today.  Let the melting begin!  Really, it's not too bad for this time of year.  The driveway is clear, and the snow piles along the driveway are only about 2 feet high.
I got some feedsacks cut for the quilt show booth next Saturday--4 charm packs (with 20 squares each) and 10 fat quarters.  That handy dandy gadget in the photo is a pinker, and works like pinking shears, only with a crank.  I have used it for fabric, but I used it here just for the price labels.  My little buddy and I had some fun with it cutting up paper.
Cutting done--on to the sewing!  My Text Me A Quilt blocks are done for February.  I can't believe how much I love orange.
I'm testing out different layouts as I make the blocks.  (I'll bet you do that, too!)
I seemed to have two kinds of orange in my scraps--bright orange and a more "pumpkin-y" orange.  The print with the triangles came from a scrap I picked up on the free table at a guild meeting.
When my Little Buddy saw this block, he said, "You've got minions!"  It prompted me to imagine a roomful of these little guys waiting for my instructions to take over the world.  No thank you, not interested in world domination, but it would be great to have them for a cleaning crew.  I could pay them in bananas.
And now for a little quilting.  I've had these tractor scraps for a long time, trying to figure out what to do with them.  I finally put two kinds of farming/tractor scraps together for this little quilt.
The green strips frame squares cut from a fabric I found in an antique mall.  The red frames surround squares cut from a farm print.  The green tractors are John Deere, the red ones are Case.
I'm not sure this was the best use of color.  The red is so strong.  While each frame goes with its own block, I don't think the two colors work well together.  Oh, well.  It is what it is.
I love the tractor fabric on the border.  Good news, I have lots of it left!
The green print is from the 2018 Wisconsin Quilt Shop Hop, and is just the names of Wisconsin towns and cities with quilt shops in the hop.  My local shop is in Richfield.
I think I like the back better than the front!  This John Deere fabric was sent to me by Beth, a generous blog reader.  Thanks, Beth!
This little tractor quilt measures 36 in. x 36 in., and so would be suitable for Jack's Basket.  I'm going to think about it a little while.  With all the Wisconsin connections here, it might need to be donated to someone local.
I hope you're having a lovely day today.  And every day!
Thanks for reading.

Linking up with:
Alycia at Finished or Not Finished Friday
Angela at So Scrappy
Sarah at Can I Get A Whoop Whoop
Cynthia at Oh Scrap