Saturday, December 31, 2016

Photo Finish

Another year has come and almost gone.  I'm finishing up some small quilts for Project Linus, and working on getting over a cold.
This quilt is called Cabin Steps.  The free pattern was handed out at a local quilt show, and is also on line here.   I changed it a little, making it a 9 in. finished block instead of 12 in.
As you can see, it's extremely easy piecing.  Each block has 9 squares in my version (16 in the original).  Three of the squares in my block are plain white.  Each of the other 6 squares are composed of two rectangles, cut 2 in. x 3.5 in., and sewn together on the long side.
It was fun to make this up out of scraps.  I really wish I had more of the planets fabric I used for the border.  I bought it second hand, and this was all there was.
The backing is a Winnie the Pooh print I also bought second hand.

The second quilt is a simple zigzag, made from solid white and strips from my 2.5 in. bin.
Here it is, laid out flat.  I don't use pink a lot in my donation quilts, because it limits the recipients.  Boys (and their families) don't want quilts with pink in them.  But once in a while I make one just for the girls.
Up close, you can see how easy this is to piece.  I must have a real thing about rectangles right now.  These are also squares composed of two rectangles.  This time the rectangles were cut 2.5 in. x 4.5 in.  I didn't strip piece it, just because I don't like to strip piece, but you could easily do that with this pattern.
I pieced the top at a quilt retreat, and used their flannel board to lay out the pieces.  I didn't think I needed a flannel board, or a Big Board for ironing, but after seeing how great they are, I'm putting them on my list.
The back is a flower print.  The flowers have faces, can you tell?  Ordinarily this would creep me out, but these flowers just seem friendly and sweet.  I got a huge hunk of this in a scrap bag at a quilt shop.  There's enough to back another quilt.
Above is a Christmas present I made for my youngest grandson.  Can you guess what it is?
It's a book, of course!  I read to him every day when I'm babysitting, and he gets so excited about it, kicking his feet and trying to grab the book.  Most of the time I'm reading him library books, and I don't dare let him grab them.  But he can grab this one!  He can even chew on it (a little).  It can go in the washer.
I just framed fabric pieces, and sewed them together.
Finally, Happy Birthday to Me!!!  Look what I got!!!  We did a birthday strip exchange at our quilt group.  Each person got two 2.5 in. strips from all the other participants at the meeting during their birth month.  We could request colors or types of prints, etc.  Of course I asked for novelty fabrics.  I couldn't wait to get home and spread them out to look at them.  Happy dance time!
And here's what they came in!  One of the nicest ladies in the world (yes you are, Mary!) made a bag for each of the recipients.  Mine has bugs and snails!!!

Like every year, 2016 had its ups and downs.
This is the best thing that happened to me (and our whole family) in 2016:
I'm wishing you a very happy New Year, and a cup of kindness for Auld Lang Syne.

I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts  and with Myra at Busy Hands Quilts this week.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Purple Prose

Having skipped blogging last week, I am overjoyed to have two finishes this week.  Finish #1 is the quilt above, a baby quilt made with the Split Square pattern from Country Threads.
The quilt is actually finished, including binding, but my full-quilt photo turned out very blurry, and the quilt itself is still in the washer. 
The Country Threads Chicken Scratch blog, written by Mary Etherington, is using this pattern as a Christmas quilt-along.  You can find out about it in several posts, starting here.  I changed the pattern slightly, partly because I didn't have the book with the instructions.  My squares finish at 4.5 in. instead of 4 in., and I made 56 squares to make it big enough for a good-sized baby.

It was lots of fun to use a few charm squares leftover from another project plus my bright scraps to make this quilt for charity.  I am really starting to love purple prints.

Purple finish #2:  wool socks!  They are shown here on the closed top of my Minnesota treadle.  I make mine with worsted weight yarn, which makes them thick and warm for the Wisconsin winter.  These are for me.  The yarn came from a flea market, and has the look of Brown Sheep yarn.
I am also happy to report that my leaf quilt is no longer languishing, waiting for me to figure out what to do for a border.
I finally decided on a 6 in. finished piano keys style border, with a 6 in. leaf block in each corner.
It is shown here on my queen sized bed, which is where I want it to go when it's done.  It can be a warm celebration of fall every year.
The top is in two pieces, since I plan to quilt it on my domestic machine.  Now the real languishing will begin, waiting for me to get the quilting done.
Isn't this a cute lamp?  It was made from a mason jar.  I bought it (for $2!) at our quilt group's silent auction last month.  The previous owner put tiny fabric strings and scraps inside it.
Here's what it looks like under the shade.  The wires don't go inside the jar.
I changed out the scraps for vintage spools of thread, which I was storing in a drawer in the basement.
Now I've got a cute lamp, and more light.  (Does this count as a finish?  Well, of course not.  But it's still fun.)
I want to share this wonderful book I got at the library this week.  It is filled with amazing photographs of life through the seasons at Old World Wisconsin, the largest outdoor history museum in the United States.  The text includes snippets from letters and diaries of settlers and their descendants, and is very well written.  The photos are so good you feel transported to the 1850s.  There are a few quilts and quilts in progress scattered through, but it is mostly a clear depiction of pioneer life.  It was named to the Library of Congress 2015 list of 52 Great Reads, and would make a nice gift for someone who loves history.
To read about the author, go here.
I wonder how many of us did this last Friday morning.  This was my breakfast the day after Thanksgiving--cold pumpkin pie and a mug of tea.  Truly another small thing to be thankful for.

I wish you thankfulness this week, and calm and peace in this busy season.

I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts today.  I think I'll just barely make the deadline.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Shop the Stash

I'm definitely not a good photographer, but I have the perfect model--my perfect youngest grandson.

Today's finishes are brought to you by my scrap and fabric stash.  Shopping the stash is perfect for this time of year.  You don't have to leave the house, it uses up stuff that's taking up space, and it's already paid for.  Win, win, win.
Today's finish is a quilt for the Volunteer Center.  It's a small twin size.  I pieced it several months ago, and turned it in to the charity quilts group at our guild, who quilted it.  I added the binding, so now it's actually ready to go to its new home.
Here's the back.  It's a print of quilt ladies doing their thing.  Quilt til you wilt!
I didn't buy anything specifically for this quilt, just used scraps and yardage on hand.  I love all the dots, and of course all the novelty fabrics.   Especially the frog print.
I turned it in for the last time at our meeting on Wednesday.  I'm sending lots of love and best wishes to whoever ends up with it.

In other news, I'm waiting (patiently?) for the new Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt to start the day after Thanksgiving.  That's only a week from today!  I don't know if I'll make the quilt this year, but I do love the colors.

Because I was thinking about the mystery quilts last month, I got out all the gold and shirting four patches I made for last year's mystery and didn't use.

I tend to make the same mistake with the mystery quilt every year.  I look over the list of colors, and decide to change it, usually to incorporate reproduction fabric scraps, which I literally have by the bushel full.  I follow the steps and make the sections, and then I don't like something about the colors when we get the reveal.  Totally my fault.  With Allietare (last year's mystery) I just couldn't stand the gold with the red, gray, and black.  So these four patches were left out.

At the retreat in October, I made them into Jacob's Ladder blocks.  I cut beaucoup (my grandmother would say boo-koo) triangles with the Accuquilt cutter in fall colors.  These just happened to be the same size I used to make the leaves in my fall leaf quilt, which is still sadly under construction.  (Actually, it's languishing, waiting for a new idea.)
Here's the flimsy, all done.  I also used the same size triangles for the chevron border.  There are thirty 9 in. blocks in the center, a 3 in. finished red border, a 6 in. finished pieced border, and a 4 in. finished outer border of brown and black plaid.
It fits pretty nicely on the twin bed.
This quilt was also made from scraps and yardage already in my stash.
I'm learning more about pieced borders as I go along.  Because I didn't really plan this out on paper, I ended up with two corners one way and two corners another way.  If I had made the inner red border 2 in. instead of 3, it would have fit better.  I'm not a huge fan of the narrow inner border idea, but I would have done it in this case.  Oh well.
Now I just have to quilt it.  And about 20 or 30 other tops.

I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts, and also with Busy Hands Quilts.  Linky parties are so much fun.  I can't wait to see what everybody else has done this week.

Happy Thanksgiving, and Happy Quilting!
Sylvia at Treadlestitches

Friday, November 11, 2016

Sewing and Ripping

Hurray, an actual quilt finish for the week.  I wrote about this little quilt last June (see the post here) when I finished the piecing.  I don't know how long it might have stayed in my to-do pile, except for an approaching deadline for Christmas quilts for the local charity.  Deadlines can be really motivating.
Here's another view, laid out on the floor.  This was a panel, and the top and bottom green borders were originally on the sides, which would have made a square quilt.  I like rectangular quilts, especially if people are going to use them, so that's why I changed it.  (Sometime I'll tell you about the traumatic experience of sleeping under a square quilt as a kid.)
I quilted wavy lines across the quilt from edge to edge, which I think you can see here.  I used a stencil, and marking was a real pain, due to all the different light and dark patches.  I used a chalk marker and a sketch and wash pencil, and I kept saying to myself, "If you can't see it, you can't quilt it".  It didn't occur to me until after I finished that I could have marked the back instead of the front and not had that problem. (sound of hand thunking forehead)
Here's my favorite block, a black sewing machine tied with a bow.
Naturally, while I'm short on time for everything and have a closet full of UFOs, I started another project.  This is a tied quilt I bought at an antique store several years ago.
If it looks odd to you, you have a good eye.  The blocks date from the 1880s or so, and the set is pure 1960s.
The blocks were pieced together with turquoise solid fabric, and tied with brown yarn.  The back of the quilt was brought over to the front as a binding.  There was no batting, just a large piece of unbleached muslin between the layers.
When I saw this quilt in the antique store, I just had to rescue these blocks.  This is my favorite way to study old fabrics--by holding them in my hand.  And there are so many different fabrics here.
So I took it all apart!  It took several days, but here's what I got out of it--61 usable blocks, 16 blocks with shredded fabric, lots of turquoise pieces to cut into squares, a large backing piece, a large piece of muslin to use for backing string blocks, and some border pieces I can cut into strips.
Here are some of the good blocks.  The turquoise edge will either be cut away or unpicked.
These are some of the blocks with bad fabric.  The browns just didn't hold up, mainly because of the dyes used back in the day.
Now I have to figure out what to do with these great blocks.
This one is my favorite.  Look at all the tiny pieces!

No progress yet on the leaf quilt.   I keep looking at it and thinking about it.  Sometimes I hear the Jeopardy theme in my head when I'm staring at it.

It has been a lovely fall week here, with lots of sunshine and temps in the 50s and 60s.  That might sound cool depending on where you live, but in Wisconsin in November it's downright balmy.

My dog and I are going to take a walk later.  Don't tell her, she doesn't know what "later" means and will be jumping at the back door, joyfully barking.

Do something nice for yourself today.  To me, sewing is the nicest thing of all.

P.S.  I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts this week.  Check out all the great blogs linked there!