Saturday, September 29, 2018

Dancing in September

I was dancing yesterday in my studio (luckily my kids weren’t around to make fun of me. But back in the day, I really could dance!). The sun was shining in the windows and I had just finished piecing the Bowties quilt top. Earth, Wind and Fire was providing the music, and the song of the hour was September.

So, here’s what the dancing was about.  Bow Ties is a completed top (!!) of 288 single blocks set 16x18. Oddly, instead of measuring 64x72, it measures 65x73. I guess that’s what scant quarter inch seams do. Isn’t it cheerful?

Bowties will get basted and quilted in October. In fact, that is my OMG - One Monthly Goal - for October. I've linked up to Patty’s October goal-setting post.

And there was a lot of Rainbow Scrap Challenge sewing this week in order to finish up my darker blue scraps. First, there were the crumb blocks; 14 of them at 6.5”.

I was able to sew 19 of the Irish Chain blocks that I’ll need as the alternate blocks in my Birds in the Lattice Quilt. I already had 4, so that brings my total to 23 completed of the 32 needed. I will be able to finish up the last 9 this weekend. I put them up on the design board to get a feel for how it’s coming together. (Edited Sept 30th to add: 9 final blocks done!)

The sample layout above shows a 5x5 setting of the 10” blocks. When complete, it will actually be 7x9 for a total of 63 blocks (32 lattice, 31 birds). There will also be a border around it of the featured dark blue floral print fabric. I love the rich, saturated colors!

I’ve decided that it won’t be made into a queen-sized bed quilt as I’d have to piece more blocks than the current plan calls for. I have enough fabric, but I’m not crazy about the idea of a mostly-white bed quilt or the fact that another expansion would prolong the construction by a couple months (at least) given the upcoming holiday season. So, it will finish somewhere in the neighborhood of 78x98” with the border.

And here’s my scrappy tally for Blue September:

Top, L-R:
18  Selvage blocks, 6.5”
  3  Selvage blocks, 4.5”
  7  Birds, 10.5”
  2  Squared Away blocks, 10.5”
Bottom, L-R:
14  Crumb blocks, 6.5”
  3  Lollipop blocks, 6.5”
  1  Friendship Star, 6.5”
20  Quarter Log Cabin blocks, 6.5”
Not Shown:
28  Irish Chain/Lattice blocks, 10.5”

Total:  96 blocks

I also completed three quilts in September:

Top Left:  Safari Baby Quilt, 46.5x55"
Bottom Left:  Orange Lozenges, 62x72"
Right: Linked Squares, 64x80"

All in all, it was a good month.  I’m linking up to Angela’s blog for Rainbow Scrap Saturday, and Cynthia’s blog for Oh Scrap!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Mini-Reunion and Walk in the Woods

Welcome Autumn! The cooler temperatures have hit us and it is absolutely delightful. The days are clear (no fires anywhere!) and warm, the colors vibrant, and evenings and morning are cool and crisp. The furnace even kicked on last night - and we have it set at 66 degrees.  Life is good!

This is just a miscellaneous post (no quilting), but it’s all good stuff that I want to share. If you’re here just for the sewing and quilting, there’s nothing about that. Except that friends
Marilyn and OD, who are visiting from Kenya, loved the Baby Safari quilt I made for their son S (see earlier post this month).

Last night Bruce and I went out to dinner with Marilyn and OD and their son, plus my son Ryan, DDIL Kim and DGD Lauren. We had a great time! The baby is so jovial and was just the happiest little man. And my, he’s grown in the 2 months since we’ve seen him!  Bruce had already met Marilyn last summer and was looking forward to meeting OD. They enjoyed each other and sat by one another in the restaurant, talking about food, beer, animals and more. We all just gabbed and gabbed, catching up.... It was so good to see them again!

L-R: Lauren, Marilyn, Kim, Cathy, Baby S and OD

After dinner, we went to Kim and Ryan’s house, where the baby could play and crawl around (and maybe some grandma person did too).

And here is OD (“King Dangerous”) in his favorite chair of Kim’s. He remembered it from their visit last year. Anyway, he’s holding the walking stick that Kim bought for herself while we were in Kenya this summer. OD’s mom did the beading on it. So, I snapped a picture of him holding it so that he could show his mom, whom we all adore, to let her know that the walking stick with her beautiful beaded handwork was safe and loved!

And the irony of Kim having a walking stick is delightful; she’s a physical therapist. But still, if she ever needs a cane or walking stick ...

We ate apple pie, laughed, took pictures and talked until we all regrettably decided we’d better get home and to bed. We have tentatively planned another family trip to Kenya when Lauren graduates from high school in 3.5 years.

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Today I’ve started a bit of autumn decorating. Here is my favorite vignette: I was able to find a new raven this year to replace the old one that had lost its beak, and will NEVERMORE sit atop the Poe book ......  (get it?)  Oh, BTW, “karibu" - with the emphasis on the last syllable - means “Welcome” in Maasai.

We also replaced our porch light, house numbers, mailbox and doorbell. The old ones were original to the house, built in 1963. The light is motion-sensor and doorbell is lighted. I’m tickled that even small things like this can update a look and generate so much enjoyment.

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Often on Wednesdays, Cousin Kim comes by for a visit. We go walking, out to lunch, and then sew for a couple hours. These pictures were taken about 2-3 weeks ago when we went walking at Wheeler Farm, a county-owned park/historical homestead a block away. I’ve talked about Wheeler Farm many times over the past, and worked there after I retired from my career. For one summer I was a Summer Camp Counselor (the Arts & Crafts Counselor), then was the bookkeeper for the farm for 4 years. Check out the Wheeler Farm label for more Wheeler Farm posts.

But here are the pictures from our walk this month. So many changes, and all for the better! They’ve added a native meadow and native woodland, botanical walk, teaching gardens, beehives and so much more.


Cousin Kim


And of course, we visited the animals...

I think this horse was getting a vet check.

The ponds and creek were lovely, as always.

Below is the Ice House near the north pond. It’s where we used to hold Summer Camp. I would get there early in the morning to open up and sweep the floors. Often I stood out on that back porch, looking out on the grounds, the ponds and the wild geese and ducks, trying to imagine I was back in time.

Yep, Autumn is definitely on its way!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Orange Lozenges - Swallowed!

YAY!! I finally finished my Orange Lozenges quilt, and I made it before the end of the month. That means I can link up to OMG - One Monthly Goal - for the September goal completion linky party at Elm Street Quilts. Wow, lots of other stitchers have been busy, too, and there’s lots of great eye candy there to check out!

First, I had lots of help from my trusty sidekick, Darla. She likes to hang with me down in the studio, but usually she sleeps on HER kitty quilt. Today however, she felt this one needed some extra attention first, even though it was under the needle.

Then Alfalfa had to get in on the action, so he came by for a cuddle and reassurance that Mom didn’t like Darla best.

With the feline needs attended to, I was able to finish quilting and binding Orange Lozenges. It finished at 62x72”.  I had just enough of the black and white striped binding to finish. Well, if truth be told, I had enough to go around the perimeter of the quilt and just meet, end to end. Not even enough to stitch a seam. So I had to cut off a couple inches and add in some leftover orange binding - it shows for about an inch - to finish it. And as I was stitching the last of it down, I ran out of bobbin thread about 4” away from the end. It was just one of those days, I guess.

The quilting was a vine motif with loops (and occasional hearts) that ran vertically down the center of each lozenge. The batting is my usual Warm & Plush by The Warm Company. This quilt will be a keeper for the living room. 

Tonight we’re going to dinner with my son Ryan and his wife Kim and our DGD Lauren. We’re meeting up with our friends Marilyn and OD, who are visiting from Kenya. It will be so nice to have a mini-reunion. I made a picture perfect apple pie for dessert (no picture). Plus we’re bringing garden produce for the Ryan’s family and the Safari Baby quilt for Marilyn and OD’s son. I’d better get a move on!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Seven Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

You’ve all probably seen or at least heard of the 1970’s classic film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, starring Jack Nicholson. The title is actually based on an old rhyme about geese (for quilters, that would be flying geese, hehe)

One flew east
One flew west
One flew over the cuckoo’s nest

So, this week in my sewing room (AKA the Cuckoo’s Nest), seven birds flew over. And all of them are in shades of dark blue (mostly), the color of the month for our Rainbow Scrap Challenge. If you follow the link to Angela’s Scrappy Saturday linky party, you can see what the other cuckoos, er, I mean quilters, are sharing from their nests!

Since I planned for this quilt to have a preponderance (I love that word!!) of blue, and had only made two birds back when we did light blue in January, I had seven more to stitch up this month. Mission accomplished. Here is the entire flock of nine bluebirds, hanging out together. 

They were a bit worried being out in the open like this, given that two felines (who shall remain nameless) live in the house. But we got the picture snapped and the birds tucked safely back into their work-in-process cubbyhole. 

The birds will be interspersed with Irish Chain blocks for a queen-sized quilt. My plan is to stitch as many of the remaining 28 Irish Chain blocks as possible next week. I need a total of 32 and have only done 4. So, the chain blocks plus sewing my crumb blocks in the remaining medium-to-dark blue scraps are on the agenda.

I’ve also basted the Orange Lozenges quilt (no picture) and started the quilting on it. That will finish up this week as well. And right now the design board has the second half of my bow tie blocks on it, so I’m hoping to get that flimsy pieced this week. No pressure. Gulp.

But getting back to this week, there was more than just birds flying out from under the needle. I sewed a replacement block for my Squared Away Sampler to match the first one, so here they are together. The wild and crazy one I showed last time is resting comfortably in the Parts Department.

And then I laid waste to my blue scraps and strings by making twenty (20!!) of these 8.5” quarter log cabin blocks.  These are just so much fun to make! 

Right now I have all 120 of the planned blocks I think I may need for a quilt, but I’m going to go ahead and sew some more dark green blocks next month so I’ll have some color placement options. When all is said and done, any extras not used in the quilt will go into the Parts Department. I’m hoping that I can find enough good stuff in there this winter to piece together a Parts Department Inventory quilt.  

And are you beginning to think of the projects you want to work on for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge in 2019?  I’ll have my crumb block project carrying over (working title is now Crumb Cake). And one other project is assigned to the lineup. But there are several more vying for a place. I’m trying to vary my projects by piece size (crumbs, strings, chunks, small squares, etc). And I need a project or two to help me use some light neutrals and black/white prints. So it’s a fun process to try to “piece together” a working plan, while tackling items on my Must Make or Bucket lists.  

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Forever in Blue, Jean

I’ve had Neil Diamond’s song “Forever in Blue Jeans” running through my mind today. (You’re welcome for the ear worm). Referring to the punny title of this post, I don’t even know if there’s a Jean who reads this blog. And I don’t want to be in blue forever anyway. But for this month, those of us participating in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge are concentrating on our darker blue scraps, from mid-range all the way to navy. And black or other dark neutrals if we have time. Angela is hosting Scrappy Saturday again and we’re glad that she has missed the worst of Hurricane Florence. But the inundation of the Carolinas is underway. If you live there, I hope you’re safe and dry.

Last week I forgot to post a picture of my some of my blue sewing. So, here’s the remedy for that. Selvage Squares - 17 at 6.5” and 3 at 4.5”. 

And as often happens. the Block Lotto block for the month of September happens to be the same color as the Rainbow Scrap Color - blue in this case.  Here are my two blue blocks. Aren’t they cute?

These are for donation to the group because I was one of the winners of the California Poppies blocks last month. Forty blocks toward a bright quilt! Stay tuned.

Moving along, I made the remaining four blocks I needed to complete the next round in the All You Need is Love quilt I’m making for my daughter Megan. Three “lollipops” and one friendship star.  

The lollipops on the left side are sewn to the main piece; the rest of them and the stars are just stuck up on the design board.  I will finish sewing that round and then put it away until later in the month or perhaps October.  But for fun, I pieced a few of the black and white checkerboard squares that will comprise the next round. What do you think..... will that be OK? Or should I do it in navy and white??

The hearts, all 54 of them, were pieced when we had the pink RSC month, so by the end of October I should have the next two rounds added on. The final row after that is an 8” block, yet to be decided. I’ll get more serious about it during the 4th quarter, since it’s a Christmas present.

I was playing with the collage maker that’s installed on my iMac, getting used to its functions since all the other free sites have either changed to paying sites or are so gooped up with ads and crap that they’re virtually unusable. 

Anyway, remember that awful block I pieced last week - my wacky take on this month’s lovely Squared Away block? Let me refresh your memory.... see the mess block at right? Well, when I put it into a collage maker, with just three blocks across and four down, with a bit of turning, it looked like this:
That might really look nice with more blocks - a full-fledged quilt. I’m going to at least tuck away the idea.

So what did I work on all week if there are no more blue blocks?  Well, I finished two quilts! YAY!!!

This is a safari-themed baby quilt that measures 46.5 x 55”. It went together so quickly! The fabric (all except the yellow) is an older line, Origami Oasis, by my favorite designer, Tamara Kate. I love the green block stuck in there with the blue. I truly was one block short of the blue (didn’t want to cut into the leftover stripe for the back) and had just the one green block.

I franken-pieced the batting, and quilted it with straight diagonal lines. Here’s the back.

It’s meant to be a gift for someone, but I’m not sure we’ll be getting together. So, it may end up in the donation pile.

My second finish was Linked Squares. All I had left to do on this one was finish the second half of the quilting, which I did last Sunday, and then bind it. 

Linked Squares finished at 64x80”. The binding is a great black and white stripe, and the backing fabric is a piece of abacus fabric I picked up somewhere on the cheap to use for an RSC quilt back. This was my Finish Along Quarter 3 goal #2 (see list HERE).

I’m planning on this being a donation quilt, but will wait and see if anyone else in the family asks for a quilt this year. 

And since we’re working with blue, I’ll add these pictures of my brother Steve’s hot rod, Hellion (named for our mom, Helen, who loved being called Hellion). Steve got all his stuff packed, loaded and delivered home right on schedule. 

Here’s one side of the 1930 Model A, looking from our front porch out to the street where it’s loaded onto a trailer.

And the other side of the car, looking from the street back to the house. Hellion had a rumble seat, but it’s been removed to accommodate something or other. Personally, I prefer accurate restorations, but Steve is all about hot rods and dragsters.

Now that Steve and his stuff are gone, I’ve got two guest rooms that will be getting refreshed over the next few months. The bedrooms, which are both along the front of the house, will get new double- or triple-paned windows. That will complete the replacement of all the windows upstairs, and all that’s left for next year is my studio window and a new screen door my studio outside door. 

Also, we'll be ripping up the carpet in the yellow “girly" bedroom so that the hardwood floor there will match the “African” bedroom/library and the hallway. Then I’ll have the ceiling, closet doors, and wood trim painted white (from the existing gray). I’ll complete that refresh by painting the wood-grain ceiling fan white and making a new quilt and jelly roll rug.  In the African bedroom, there are two walls to retouch or repaint since the futon we gave to Steve really scratched up the walls. I’m getting tired just planning it all..... the older we get, the more happy I am to pay someone else to do the work!!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Coming and Going

It’s been a crazy week.

My brother Steve arrived from Colorado to move his stuff. He came by Amtrak so he could drive a U-Haul truck back full of his stuff while towing his Model A on a trailer. The train was delayed before leaving and didn’t arrive until 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning. THAT was fun - driving into downtown Salt Lake at that hour to pick him up. Train stations aren’t usually located in the nice part of town. But we got home safely,  I got my sleep, and Steve has been loading his stuff up slowly but surely. Today, Saturday, should be the last loading day, and hopefully he’ll be able to take off tomorrow. He has help unloading on the other end.

Bruce is working ComicCon (now called FanX) and doesn’t get home until 9-ish. That ends today, too, thank goodness. And since the commuter trains and buses run less in off-peak (non-commuter) hours, I have to take him and pick him up at the Trax station. Meanwhile, between running Steve around for errands and appointments, and shuffling Bruce, I’ve had precious little time for myself. But that’s fine - I was prepared for this week and its resulting chaos and messes. But not much sewing got done.

I did sew up two of the Squared Away blocks that Angela, our Rainbow Scrap Challenge hostess, and Mari of Academic Quilter  have cooked up for us.  After doing the first one on the right above, I started in on the second one. I didn’t like the lack of contrast in the fabrics I’d selected, so I just made it up as I went. The pieces are the same, but shuffled and with different shading to form a different pattern. I sorta kinda like it a tiny bit, but not as much as the original block. I may still do another blue block.

The Orange Lozenge top did get finished this week. It’s now awaiting its turn to be basted.

And finally, I got started on the quilting of Linked Squares. It’s halfway done. There’s not much to see at this point.

I’ll finish quilting it today and tomorrow (sew day with Cousin Kim!). It will be a finish for this week. My goals for the coming week are also to sew and quilt the baby quilt top whose pieces I showed last week, sew up all 7 bird blocks in blue for my Lattice Birds top, and baste the Orange Lozenges quilt. I have a mammogram on Wednesday and lots of housework to face during the week sometime. But at least there will be a slow return to normal - or what passes for it - around here. Thanks for dropping by! xo.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

August Sewing and a new September Goal

August was a great month for sewing. With all our kids having flown the nest long ago (and now sending THEIR kids off to school), our focus was just enjoying the summer, family, the garden, hobbies, and - in Bruce’s case - work. Yes, he really loves his post-retirement job at The Leonardo museum where he is the Resident Engineer. It keeps him out of trouble (and my hair) for 4 days a week.  :-)

I completed three quilts, all of which were near the final stages at the beginning of the month. They just needed basting, quilting and binding. More information about them is in the Quilt Gallery tab, above. They are Groovy Guitars for Bruce, an aqua donation quilt and the Farm Girl quilt for me. So glad to have these all done!

But this past week I just focused on moving other projects along.  I basted Linked Squares.

I started another quick quilt (gulp). It’s just going to be a quick patchwork baby quilt for our friends Marilyn and OD from Kenya, who are visiting here in September. It will be a simple patchwork quilt. The patches are already cut. The zebra fabric on the left below is the backing (with a stripe of the blue) and the blue will be the binding. It’s for their son S. This fabric is from an older line called Origami Oasis by my favorite designer, Tamara Kate.

I made progress on Orange Lozenges by sewing up an additional five blocks - each block containing 24 lozenges. The last row that’s pinned to the design board is overlapped by the row above it due to space considerations - my design board isn’t long enough.

So, I only have four more blocks to finish, and one of them is almost done.

The other three are ready for their corners. It was a challenge to make sure that there were no more than two of any one print in any block, so I was sorting and re-sorting until the end.

This WILL become at least a finished top in September, although I want to finish the entire quilt. In fact, I’m declaring that as my OMG - One Monthly Goal - for September as I link up to Elm Street Quilt’s September Goal Link-up, HERE

Moving along, I also began sewing together my Bow Ties into a quilt. These little blocks are 4” (finished), and there are 288 of them that will be set 16 x 18, resulting in a quilt that will measure 64x72”.  I got half of the quilt done!  I have so enjoyed this Rainbow Scrap Challenge project over the last two years and really look forward to seeing this one completed.

I finally settled on this very basic, traditional set with random color placement. It’s going to be a keeper for me. There are just so many memories stitched into it from all the fabrics!  I would love to finish this top in September, too, but September promises to be a hectic month (more on that later), so we’ll just have to see.

Here are some close-ups.

Alfie and Darla won the voting for the 2018 Pets On Quilts category Cats on Quilts over at Lily Pad Quilting. YAY! Thanks to all of you who took the time to go over to see the contest (it’s for a good cause) and vote. They won a jelly roll of fabric, which they gave to me. And some of YOU won prizes, too, for participation. Way to go!

And now we start on dark blues for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I’m happy we’re finally getting back to the blues. I have lots more birds to make in blue this month, plus all the rest of the blue Irish Chain blocks for the top.  And we have another block for our Squared Away quilt, so there is certainly a lot on my plate for September.

And speaking of a lot on my plate, my brother Steve will be returning to visit us in the coming week. He found a cute house in Montrose County, Colorado (southeast area, about an hour from Grand Junction) with about 3/4 acre of land, and bought it. He closed on it a couple weeks ago and is now ready to return here to gather his stuff and haul it home. 

Steve will return here by train so that he can rent and drive a U-Haul truck and trailer (to tow his 1930 Model A Ford) home. While he’s here for about a week, he also has all sorts of business - banking, medical, etc - to wrap up. Since I’ll need to chauffeur him around, I imagine it will seriously cut down my sewing time for a week or so. LOL. But the upside is seeing him, to say nothing about getting our storage areas and guest bedroom back. So it’s all good, right?