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.