Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Kitchen towels

This kitchen towel was an experiment to see if I had long enough pieces of the beach border print. And it turns out that this works just fine. Now I need to buy a couple more of these blue kitchen towels and use up the rest of those pretty scraps.

This border print was left over from my daughter's wedding signature quilt. Her guests in Jamaica signed the quilt.  The flip flop blocks were from her bridal showers and the palm tree block was where the actual wedding guests signed.  And you can see the beach print was used as the borders all around.  I plan to keep one towel for my own kitchen but will give her the others for her birthday in July.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Farm Girl Vintage is finished


Farm Girl Vintage.  This is definitely one of my favorite quilts so far. It's so whimsical and colorful!  Farm Girl Vintage was a project that spanned over 18 months with 2 support groups: my Sew Vintage face-to-face group and an online Facebook group. We were "assigned" 1 or 2 blocks per month and it kept me moving along on this because it was fun to see what others were doing too. Plus I finally cut deeply into the 1930s reproduction fabrics that I have been hoarding for years.
The top photo really shows off the quilting design (thanks Bonnie at The Pin Cushion) and has a pretty true color.  She used a white thread and the design is called Boulevard. I love it. The bottom photo shows off the blocks a bit better but I made my husband move into the shade so the color is off a bit. The quilt is twin sized but may end up hanging somewhere for awhile.
This quilt is even labeled - with another Farm Girl Vintage block. This barn block is the same as the one in the bottom left of the quilt, except I replaced the pieced barn door with a plain white square so I could write in it.  Now I have to decide what to do with the 50 remaining blocks - the 12" versions of these 6" blocks.  Two quilts at least could be made with those.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Binding with my helper

It's not easy binding a quilt with a 20 pound cat laying on the bottom edge, weighing it down so you can't move it.  Three sides done and 1 more to go. Then the label . . . and then it will be all finished.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Simple panel projects

Panels are hard to resist when I see them in the shops, even though I haven't been very quick to actually use them in a quilt.  A panel sometimes contains just the perfect artwork a person wants to see. And this one spoke to me. I loved the colors and the subject matter.  I decided that I really just wanted to frame this in a simple manner, so I didn't even use everything that came in the kit with the panel.  Oops - that leaves fabric in my stash, doesn't it? 

This was a new panel, but in recent months I've been playing with panels purchased in the past.  And I've been exploring some other ideas for panels I have still in the stash. 
Three of the finished ones are pictured here.  The bright one with the tree is a lap quilt that has a pieced border. It's all quilted and ready to be gifted.
This cute ABC panel has one simple striped border added.  It still needs to be quilted but will probably wait until I need it as a gift.

The Crazy Cats panel was cut into sections and reassembled with strip sets and 9-patch blocks. I love this one. Granddaughter Olivia chose this one as part of her recent birthday gift. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

UFO - Ladybug pillow

This bench pillow is another OLD project from at least a dozen years ago.  It was originally supposed to be a wall hanging, but I decided to turn it into a pillow cover.  And it's done - except for making a pillow form to go into it since it isn't a standard size.  It's about 18 x 38".

I quilted it using black thread and a simple decorative stitch. There is iron-on fleece under it for stability.  The ladybugs are appliqued and 3-D, with chenille around the red sections.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Blue canning jars


Do you remember the blue canning jars?  Actually any canning jars make me think about helping my mother can veggies and meat (chicken and beef) when I was a kid growing up in Minnesota. I did some canning of my own for several years - mostly pickles.  I've quit gardening in recent years, and that ended the canning too.  But when I saw this fabric I just had to have it. 

This is a Timeless Treasures print that I found in the only quilt shop I visited while back in Minnesota last week on vacation. The Gathering Friends shop in Bird Island is definitely one worth the stop.  They feature lots of their own patterns and a wonderful selection of fabrics. This one just jumped into my hands.  And yesterday after my husband left for a business trip (code for a week of golf with clients) - I headed to my sewing room for some fun of my own.  This 60 degree runner was the first result and I have enough left to make another, or make something else. 

Check out the Design Wall Monday posts at: http://smallquiltsanddollquilts.blogspot.com/

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Remembering my dad

Please bear with me, as I have a story to tell.  My dad, known locally as Frenchy, was a hard working Kansas farm kid, WWII veteran, and blue collar worker who ended up in central Minnesota where he put down roots. My freshman year in college (1972) he realized his dream of starting his own business. And Frenchy's Body Shop became a reality in a small shop he built on the alley behind my parents' house.  He ran a successful business until his stroke in the spring of 1988.  He passed away on Halloween 1990 and my mother died 8 months later. We sold the property in the fall of 1991.

My cousin Ernie and the new owner took down that bottom sign from the alley side of the shop that fall and he hung it inside his own business as a wonderful remembrance of my dad. But for the past 5 years or so, it has sat forgotten in his garage. Which brings me to the rest of this story . . .

This past March a picture of that top weathered sign was posted to my Facebook timeline by Kim, the brother of one of my high school classmates.  He had noticed that the sign was still hanging on the back side of dad's old building and took a picture for me.  His post stimulated a wonderful Facebook conversation among people I grew up around who remembered my dad. Eventually this gentleman suggested that he would check with the current owner to see if it was OK to take the sign, because he thought I really should have it.  How nice was that?  

And in late May he messaged me to say the sign was in his possession at no cost to either of us. He would hang onto it until I was able to come collect it.  So this past week my husband and I took a mini vacation for some family visits, some Twins baseball, and golf.  More on that another day!

We came home on Saturday through my hometown to visit my cousin and to connect with Kim and that old sign.  We had a wonderful chat with Kim when he brought that weathered sign over to my cousin's house.  Lucky for us the new owner never painted the building since 1991, because he probably would have just painted over this simple piece of plywood. When Kim left and we went back into the cousin, my cousin said "now, do you want the other one?".  And he pulled the other sign out of his garage. He and his wife had forgotten that they still had the one he took down in 1991.
So, thanks to a couple of really great guys, I have both signs from my dad's body shop and I can pass them on some day to both of my girls in remembrance of their grandfather.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The perfect backing

When you see the perfect fabric for finishing a project, you just have to buy it, right?  En Provence is the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt that I started last winter. It was inspired by a trip to southern France. I have the "units" made but have only put together 1 of the blocks so far. But it's going to move up my "to do" list a bit higher now that I have such a fun backing for it.  

Along with this yardage I also bought a panel and a border print.  I have a soft spot for anything French since that is half of my family lineage.  Can't wait to use this.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

A new book

This little pattern book just spoke to me. It said "buy me, you'll LOVE me".  So of course I had to buy it, and there are several patterns in here that I want to make immediately. 

In the upper right corner of the cover is the table runner I want to make first.  It's charm pack friendly and I have several charm packs that would be fun to use for this one - including a brand new one of French General fabrics. 

I'm thinking a new table runner will be my reward for finishing another UFO. So I need to get busy!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Donut pin cushion

Just had to share this cute pin cushion that guild member Carma made - for each member!  She presented them in actual white pastry boxes, with the donuts lined up just like the real thing.  She had a variety of "icing" colors to choose from.  She used her embroidery machine to do the "sprinkles" on the icing.  These little wool pin cushions are filled with crushed walnut shells to keep the pins sharp.  

Just too cute!  And mine is next to my sewing machine already, full of pins.  Thank you Carma! 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sunday sewing

I had a little list made of things I wanted to work on today, and this quilt label was at the top. At yesterday's Sew Vintage group we were challenged to use blocks from the Farm Girl Vintage book for other purposes, such as a quilt label or a signature block.  Quilt label - that was exactly what I needed to make for my FGV quilt, which is now in the capable hands of the quilter.  So, this morning my first task was making the 6" version of the Old Red Barn block. Instead of putting a pieced barn door in I used just the white background fabric so I can write there.  And I added a 1.5" strip around all 4 sides, then folded, pressed, and basted the edges. Once I add the writing it will be ready to stitch onto the back of the quilt.

Another morning task was to hang my "retirement" quilt on the wall in my sewing room.  And then I made 3 more Garlic Knot blocks for our guild Quilt of Valor project.  

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Donation project

Picking up a quilt from your long arm quilter is always exciting, right?  I stopped into The Pin Cushion today to pick up needles and a new bottle of Best Press. And the bonus was that the group/donation project quilt that I dropped off a week or so ago was ready to be picked up. And the quilting is just gorgeous.  This is a design I will request again for my own quilts.  Thanks for the recommendation ladies!!

I've explained before how this quilt came to be.  A group of 12 of us each made a set of 13 identical blocks which had to include that brown floral focus fabric. Then we got together and exchanged the blocks so we each had 1 block from everyone.  The 13th set - this one - was put together and will be donated locally.  We had originally talked about donating it to the local school district scholarship committee for their annual raffle/auction fundraiser. 
It just needs binding and a label now, and then we can hand it over to the committee if that is what the group decides we still want to do. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Farm Girl Vintage top is done

Farm Girl Vintage is now a finished flimsy! These are all of the 6" blocks plus the larger Silo Barn block in the center.  The outer border is actually a light blue with specs of red, yellow, and white. I absolutely LOVE this quilt.  And I still have the 12" version of all of these blocks waiting to become something. 

Wish I had a better picture to share, but this was the best out of several taken inside and outside.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Design Wall Monday - borders

Pieced borders are done on 3 sides of Farm Girl Vintage. These flying geese blocks are only 1.5 x 2.5" - very small.  I have about half of the geese for the last side done and hope to finish that side this afternoon. Then there will be another narrow white border, and then a wide blue print border. Can't wait to finish this top and get it quilted because I really love these blocks.

Check out the Design Wall Monday posts on the new site, Small Quilts & Doll Quilts:  http://smallquiltsanddollquilts.blogspot.com/2017/06/design-wall-monday-june-5-2017.html

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Stash Report & the 4 Bs

I've been determined to cut back on frivolous fabric purchases and have done well so far in 2017 by mostly making purchases that had specific purposes. So far most of my purchases have been Backgrounds, Borders, Backing, and Binding to finish existing projects. The 4 Bs of finishing UFOs. 

  • Fabric IN this year:  44 yards
  • Fabric OUT this year:  81 yards

It's really exciting to be so far ahead this year.  A little mental discipline is paying off so far.

This isn't saying that I don't have some new projects ready to start or already started.  For example, I'm doing Saturday Sampler again and that fabric was all new purchases. And I have purchased a couple of new patterns in the past couple of months that I'm just dying to try out - and that just may require a few purchases.  Since it's the process that I love I'm determined to enjoy every project that I work on, whether it's new or finishing a UFO.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Finished exchange block top

I set a goal of finishing this top by Father's Day weekend, but I had Friday morning open.  No work - and the little tiny flying geese for Farm Girl Vintage just didn't appeal to me.  Both projects are currently living on my cutting table, ironing board, and sewing table.
This went together so much faster than I expected.  I did a bit more figuring (math) and then just cut into those strip sets.  Trying to be brave and hoping that the math was right. And it turned out just perfect.  Lucky me!  It's appliqued, pressed, and ready to be quilted.  Also the binding is ready to go too, also from that same dark red.  So I think my portion of this donation project is done.  Check off UFO #10 from the Challenge.
The other exciting thing is that it appears there are enough opposite wedges left from those strip sets that I can do something similar in my own personal version of this quilt.  I really hadn't decided what I wanted to do with my own set of these blocks but I like this outcome so well that I think I'm going to copy it.  Maybe a different color inner border and binding.  And maybe I'll add an outer border to make mine larger.  New goal?  Both tops done by Father's Day?

Friday, June 2, 2017

Exchange blocks

Here is a glimpse of my June UFO Challenge project - just the exchanged blocks. In the center of this will be a Dresden Plate, pieced from 2 different strip sets.  A few of us got together last summer and laid out the blocks in this pattern and chose the fabrics for the strip sets. Luckily I took a photo with my phone to remember what order we decided on. And luckily I had all of the parts and fabrics all in one project box so I didn't lose anything.

The strip sets for the Dresden are already sewn. I did that last summer but I've been afraid to cut those plate sections because I am worried about cutting them the wrong size.  This was going to be a group project but this next step was supposed to be my task and I've been procrastinating.  Surprise, surprise!  So, I have set a goal of finishing this top by Father's Day weekend.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

June UFO Challenge

#10 is the June number for the American Patchwork & Quilting UFO Challenge. My charts says it's a 2015 Friendship Exchange, so now I have some decisions to make because I actually have 2 of these. I have my own personal one AND I have the blocks for the group charity version. Each of the 12 of us made 13 identical blocks and then we met and exchanged them so we each had a block from everyone. And the 13th set of blocks is for a charity quilt.  A small group of us got together last summer and figured out a layout for the charity version, and I have the blocks.  So maybe that one needs to be done first.  Right after I finish that Farm Girl Vintage quilt top!

UFO/WIP Project
Status Before
Status After
Valentine Bench Pillow
Needs blanket stitching around applique, then sandwich, quilt, and add envelope backing
4 Seasons Cats
Pastel 9-patch
Finish hand quilting, bind
quilt and bind
DONE in May!
ABC kid quilt
Machine quilt, bind
House Warming Party
Finish blocks
Circa 2016
Finish making blocks
Easter Sunrise runners (2)
Applique, quilt, bind
DONE in January!
Batik Stars Saturday Sampler
Finish blocks
2015 Saturday Sampler
Finish blocks, need to cut out setting pieces Quilt and bind
DONE in February!
Reindeer 60-degree runner
Quilt and bind
2015 Friendship Exchange
Blocks are made, need to determine a layout
Beach cross-stitch piece
Harvest Bounty 60-degree runner
About half stitched only
Re-do quilting
DONE in April!
RSC16 Crown of Thorns
12+ blocks finished, need to determine layout
DONE in March!