Thursday, October 31, 2019

OMG - One Monthly Goal Finished for October

Yay! This is the tenth month in a row that I've finished my one monthly goal (OMG) as inspired by Patty at Elm Street Quilts and the monthly OMG gang. I am always so happy to participate. It's fun to cheer others on and get support back in return. Come see how many projects have been finished this month! Visit us HERE.

My goal for October was to finish my Rainbow Anvils quilt. All the blocks were sewn throughout the year as each month a new color was assigned by the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  But still, after working on other projects for most of the month, I had to buckle down last week and begin sewing the 72 blocks together, then to sandwich and quilt the quilt. And finally, to bind it. The binding was done by machine because this will be a donation quilt.

It was pretty windy today (I feel sorry for the trick-or-treaters tonight), but we managed to get these pictures on our front porch. I'm disappointed that the quilt looks wavy, because it actually lays very nicely flat. I should have pressed the edges and taken a quilt roll-up picture.

However, I will confess that many points were harmed in the making of this quilt. That is why it's a donation quilt. I really don't want to claim it.  :-)  Rainbow Anvils finished at 64x72". The backing is a wonderful print that was part of a duvet I bought last year at the thrift store. We used the other half of the duvet in Cousin Kim's Jelly Roll Race quilt back in January, which you can see HERE.

Rainbow Anvils was goal #2 on my 4th Quarter Finish-Along list, which you can find HERE. I'll link up to the quarter-end finishing post when that goes live at the end of the quarter. For now, I can begin putting together the next item on my list - the second quilt in the dark neutral scraps that I've been working on. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, since this is the last day of October, I thought I'd share with you several pictures from our weekly walks over to the local county-owned historic working farm, Wheeler Farm. I love this 75-acre farm, which is only a block away from our house. I worked there for 4 years after officially retiring. I was a Kids' Camp Counselor (arts and crafts) for one summer, then the farm bookkeeper for three and a half years after that. I quit when my Etsy shop got so busy (I sold Venice lace (plain and dyed), fancy fabrics, vintage linens and trims, and vintage sewing patterns. Anyway, I've stayed in touch with all my old friends and co-workers, so almost every visit is like a homecoming for me. And autumn on the farm is absolutely the best time of year!

This is the pumpkin patch where the families can go after they've been on the wagon rides, through the hay maze and other activities. I think they were smart to separate the pumpkin patch from the other activities. The families can go here with their tickets and pick out the pumpkins when they're ready to leave rather than carrying them around the whole time.

I showed this horse "skeleton" last year (there are actually 2 of them in there), but it always gives me a chuckle so I had to include it again.

Here's a row of "witches" that you have to walk down on the way over to the hay maze.  The best decorations on the farm - and there are plenty - are ones that I forgot to take pictures of!

But Mother Nature herself is the star of the show anyway at this time of year.

Above: over the bridge across Little Cottonwood Creek, which separates the front third of the farm (farmhouse, Activity barn, animals and their barns and paddocks, education centers, developed areas) from the back two thirds of the farm, which is all trails for walking, bicycling, wagon rides.

Below: a portion of the creek flows through the woods. The pointed shadow is my hoodie. Really, it's my hoodie, not my head. Honest.

In the background of the picture below, you can see the Ice House, where they used to store the ice cut off the two ponds (you can see one of those in the picture, too) that were diverted from the creek water. The Wheelers used to have a dairy here and sold milk, eggs, butter, cheese and ice. I think I've mentioned it here before, but one year they sold $2,000 worth of ice blocks. They charged 10 cents each. That's a lot of ice!!  The Ice House is where the kids summer camp is always headquartered.

Back in the wild area...

Another part of the creek.

Bruce and I live on a standard city lot in a nice suburban neighborhood. But when we want a sense of peace or a recharge that only the countryside can provide, we only have to walk about 4 houses down, cross a street, and we are in the midst of nature in minutes. I can't tell you how grateful we are to have Wheeler Farm in our "backyard".

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Still Playing in the Neutral Zone

I'm a woman on a mission - to go where no one has gone before use up most (or at least make a substantial dent in) my dark neutral scraps. Before I started at the beginning of the month, these scraps took up three drawers of my scrap drawer units, and were overflowing. Now they fit into 2 drawers (brown/beige in one, gray/black in another). And I'm not done yet. But first, let's officially check this finish off the list. Meet the finished Stringing in the Rain quilt!

Stringing in the Rain finished at 54" x 64", a medium-sized lap quilt.  I just stipple-quilted it because I wanted it done. For the last couple months my quilting has been limited to wall hangings and small kid quilts for Quilts for Kids, so this one felt large by comparison. It was a good size to ease me back into quilting big things, because I've got lots of Rainbow Scrap quilt finishes coming up.

Stringing in the Rain was goal #11 on my 4th Quarter Finish-Along list, which you can see HERE. I'll link up to their official link-up party at the end of the year.

Now I'm working on my OMG (One Monthly Goal) so I can finish that up before month-end. Here are the Rainbow Anvil blocks, which was another Rainbow Scrap Challenge block and project for this year. The bottom four rows are sewn together and hanging from the bottom of my design wall. That's how I work (bottom half first) so that I can see it all together on my too-small design board.  This top will be finished up this weekend, and I hope to get it basted on Sunday and begin quilting.

Darla decided to join me in the sewing room on Thursday.

It's an unwritten law in the cat world that one must always look bored. It throws off the humans and allows you to plot sneaky adventures.

Hey Mom, what is this pole thingy with stuff hanging from it? 

It tastes like THREAD!!

Darla grabbed the thread in her mouth and ran with it. Naturally, it knocked over the thread stand which clanked loudly and scared her half to death.  She was GONE.....

Sometimes cats are their own worst enemies!

Finally, here's a peek at what I'm working on in the coming week with my dark neutral scraps (with a little help from their lighter neutral scrap friends). I'm making various blocks in both 8-inch and 6-inch sizes. There are still three sets of blocks to go, then I've got an idea for putting them together. I'd like to have it to the flimsy (quilt top) stage by next weekend. Today I'm linking up to Scrappy Saturday and the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

This will be a crazy week because my daughter Megan is visiting us from Seattle. She'll be here through Monday. Then I have three doctor appointments next week; my annual physical, a meeting with my retina doctor and an appointment with a surgeon regarding my carpal tunnel.  Plus Weight Watchers on Tuesday morning and sewing group here on Wednesday afternoon. Whew! I've decided to get a housekeeper to come in and clean a couple times a month. It was either that or hire a stunt sewist, so housekeeper it is!

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Stringing in the Rain

I had hoped to finish my dark neutral-colored string quilt this week, but too many other projects and responsibilities prevented that. However, I was able to play with the rest of my strings and eke out enough more squares to total 42 (7.5" unfinished). Here they are set horizontally on the design board.

After the blocks were done, I had three quilts to quilt (two for Quilts for Kids and one for Cousin Kim's daughter). But then I came back to the strings and decided it needed a better name than its working title, November Strings. The colors reminded me of a quilt that I made for my son Ryan about 3 years ago, which we called November Rain (a reference to a Guns 'n Roses song that Ryan has always liked. So do I, come to think of it). And somehow, with all that swirling around in my brain, the name Stringing in the Rain came to be.

The flimsy has a 2" inner border and a black outer border that measures 4" on the sides and 6" on the top and bottom. Although it looks wonky on the design board because the top is pinned and the bottom is just hanging (the design board isn't long enough), it is perfectly rectangular at 54.5 x 65.5". I will get it layered, quilted and bound in the coming week.

This is the first of two quilts that I plan to make from my dark neutral scrap stash for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Today I'm linking up with Scrappy Saturday, where many of us are beginning to finish up and share our rainbow scrappy projects for this year.

I also managed to sew up eight cute blocks (6.5" each, unfinished) for the second step in the Seeing Stars Sew Along, hosted by Diane Knott at Butterfly Threads Quilting.  Check it out! I've really enjoyed it, and there is so much room for variety and personal interpretation - a super sew-along that's just getting started.

Alfie had a dental appointment this week, and came through just fine. Just a cleaning with no cavities extractions or other work needed. My pocketbook is grateful for that. But Himself was a bit put out that the bandage they put on his foreleg (the IV site) was PINK. Sheesh. But he recovered his dignity soon enough. And when Bruce turned on the fireplace that evening, the cats curled up in spots to contrast their furs to best advantage, and took a nice evening nap.

Life is good.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Gumdrops and Strings

With the vegetable garden put to bed for the winter (wish I could say the same about all the weeds and yard clean-up yet to do before the snow flies), there is a substantial increase in my leisure time (sewing) this month! YAY!

This week, in addition to finish Gumdrops (later in the post) and basting several kids quilts in preparation for quilting them next week for Quilts for Kids, I got to play in my scraps. Our Rainbow Scrap color(s) for October is dark neutrals, which for me includes my drawer of grays and blacks as well as my drawer of browns and beiges. This week my focus has been strings.

So far I've stitched 24 string blocks. They measure 7.5" (7" finished), and I probably have enough strings to get another 12-24 blocks, depending on how large I want to make the eventual quilt. Each block has a black strip in the center diagonal, although not overtly pronounced. These have been a blast!! My goal is to get this one finished (and quilted) during this coming week so I can turn my attention to the dark neutral patchwork quilt I'd like to make of squares and half-square triangles (HST's) in the latter half of the month.

But I have just finished up a Rainbow Scrap quilt and am sharing it over at Angela's blog for Rainbow Scrap Saturday. Here is Gumdrops (perfect name courtesy of Mari), hot off the press. Or machine. Whatever. 

Gumdrops measures 40.5" x 47" and was quilted with a tight stipple to give additional security to the selvages (something I always do).  

Here are some detail shots so you can see some of the fun fabrics and selvages.

That purple paisley fabric below dates from the 1980's.

The oldest fabric in the quilt, however is the green-orange-yellow paisley fabric (1960's) in the picture below.

My friend Diann will recognize these Little Penguins!  The blue fabric is the backing and binding.

This quilt was #1 on my Finish-Along 4th Quarter goal list. You can see that list HERE.  Gumdrops will go to Quilts for Kids. Our next meeting (next Saturday) is a special one to teach some scrappy quilting techniques.  I will be demonstrating the String Stars and showing Gumdrops for selvage use ideas.  

Friday, October 11, 2019

4th Quarter Goals for 2019 Finish-Along

It's time to declare my goals for the 4th Quarter of this year's Finish-Along quilter's event. Last quarter I managed to complete 6 of my 12 goals, all quilts. I'm pleased with that number because naturally we all list more than we can (most likely) finish, and the extras give us some room to pick and choose what we're in the mood to work on.  :-)

This quarter I've got a lot of finishes planned, and a lot of time in which to do them. No garden work. Hopefully no unforeseen health issues for either Bruce or myself. And definitely lots of cold weather which will make for great sewing time!  So here we go.

1.    Gumdrops

This one is a basted top that is partially quilted. I expect to finish it in the next day or so. It will go to Quilts for Kids. It was a Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) project for this year.

2.  Rainbow Anvils

This is another RSC block that I worked on all this year. The blocks are done and ready to be assembled. It is also my OMG (One Monthly Goal) for October.

3.  Newport


This project has been on my list for over a year. I want to make Cousin Kim a quilt. Her birthday is in November, so this will either be a birthday or Christmas present for her this year.  But I have selected a different pattern than shown.

 4.  Donation Dogwoods

This was a quilt top that I purchased at that maaaaaahvelous estate sale last month. Along with the quilt top came yards and yards of additional matching fabric for backing, borders, etc. This should be a snap to finish.

5.  Rainbow Crackers

Here's another Rainbow Scrap Challenge project for this year. Blocks are done (not all are shown in this picture) and ready to be assembled.

6.  Lemon-Lime

Another longtime resident of my Finish-Along list. Maybe this quarter will be the one to finish it. It will eventually be a quilt for the day bed in the guest bedroom.

7.   Nine-Patch Madness (need a real name)

These blocks (only blue shown, but there 122 in all colors) was yet another RSC block I made throughout the year. They are six-inch (finished size) blocks, so I may be able to make one large or two smaller kid-sized donation quilts from these.

8.   Rainbow Selvage 16-patch

Another RSC project for 2019. I had a lot of selvages to work through, obviously. I just plan to sash and border this, making a square donation quilt.

9-10.  On Ringo Lake

This, too, has been on my Finish-Along list since the days of the dinosaurs (or thereabouts). I'm going to unstitch the blocks shown and convert from an on-point to a traditional square set. By doing that and adding simpler sashing, I can eke out two donation quilts for Quilts for Kids. I love these colors and had always intended this to be a living room quilt for us, but we've got more than enough of those!

11.  Winter Strings AKA Stringing in the Rain

Winter Strings is a currently in-progress project for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I'm using all my dark neutral strings (along with some lighter neutral strings) to use up some of my gray, black and brown scraps that were threatening to overtake my bins.

12.  Winter Patchwork (no picture)

I also have some black, brown and gray (and assorted lighter neutrals) cut into squares and HSTs to make a basic patchwork quilt from these scraps.

13.  Rainbow Strings - Warm


Yes, another RSC 2019 project that I'd like to finish into a donation quilt this calendar year. These are the warm blocks.

14.  Rainbow Strings - Cool


This is the final RSC project for this year. I think, LOL. These are the cool colored string blocks that I'll finish into a donation quilt.

15.   Kitty Quilt for the Grandcats


My grandcats, two male kittens named Carl and Xbox (they kept the names given by the shelter) need a snuggly quilt! This will be their Christmas present from Grammy and Gramps, lol. It will be bigger than a kennel quilt, possibly about the size of a baby quilt.

And that's my list. It should keep me busy, that's for sure!  Linking up to the 4th Quarter Finish-Along goal-setting post at Marci Girl Quilts.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Punkin' Patch Finished

This little wall hanging was churned out in record time. Mostly it was because it was so fun and easy, but also because I wanted to get it up on the wall in the living room. I wasn't going to let myself do the fall decorating without it! And I was really jonesing for some bright autumn colors and feels.

Punkin' Patch finished at 28" x 36", which is just perfect for where it hangs (pix below). I did something really dumb with the hanging sleeve, however (and NO, I will not go into it here). But I will have to redo that after the season.

However, I was really pleased with the quilting I did, which was rather unplanned until about 5 minutes before I started it. Basically I just free-motion quilted curlicues, vines and leaves. The thread is a variegated gray thread, Aurifil 50-weight in bobbin and top. Done on my Bernina 550QE.

After it was hung up, I realized that I'd never cut the gray squares to sew to the stems to give them points. That's what happens when you're so into the groove that you just wing it after cutting out (most of) the pieces!!

If the quilt police come visiting, perhaps I can just offer them some Halloween treats.....

It's been beautiful and sunny both yesterday and today, so I got some decent pictures of the light autumn decorating I did yesterday. Mostly it's just the little pumpkins from our garden and a few other things thrown in here and there. The downsizing of STUFF continues, and seasonal decorations is part of that.

This decoration is a keeper, though. It's a crazy quilt pillow I made for a contest (won an Honorable Mention, I believe) way back in 2008. I blogged about it here.  The squirrel has a mink tail, the pumpkin in the lower left is felted wool, plus I tried lots of new stitches and beading and flower techniques. It was really fun, and the pillow comes out every autumn.

Here's a view of the east end of the living room. See what a few pops of color (in this case, orange), will do for a neutral decor?

Darla must have overheard me saying that. I was wearing an orange blouse, and she jumped up on me for some loving and kneading. Then she said, "See what an orange Mommy will do for a neutral cat?"