Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Looking back at September

Yikes!!  Where did my September go?  I had a couple of big finishes, but there are a LOT of things left undone this month as well.  I kept getting sidetracked I guess.  But that is OK because those unfinished projects will just continue into October along with some new projects.  Life is good, right?  

  • Clean ONE AREA in my sewing room!!! - currently sorting books & making progress
  • Bind at least 1 quilt - 
    • either Quilt of Valor (Patriotic Stars) - DONE 
    • or the Rail Fence DONE 
  • Cut out NEW QOV from kit (Daring Spirit) - see photo - didn't happen
  • Quilt and bind the red/white/blue pinwheel table topper didn't happen
  • Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) color is red
    • gingham blocks (2) - DONE
    • Twinkle Star blocks (2) didn't happen
    • Ohio Star block (1) - DONE
    • String block (1 red) - DONE + 1 yellow & 1 aqua
    • Diamond Tile blocks didn't happen
  • Make the piano key border on Potting Shed (Kim Diehl) - DONE (quilted & bound)
  • Cut out this month's Simple Whatnots project - Farmer's Market didn't happen
  • Make 4 pillowcases - 2 so far
  • Finish the last 3 Bee Patriotic Sew Along blocks didn't happen
  • UFO - BOO bench pillow - in progress
  • Pick a PIG - Laundry Line (Kim Diehl) for Simple Whatnots didn't finish cutting

Some of the distractions this month included playing with Halloween projects and reading through a lot of old quilting books in preparation of donating them. 

There are currently 35 books in the donate stack.  That bottom shelf is now empty except for the binders, and there is a big basket sitting on the shelf where the books were.  I've begun working on the next shelf up to weed out more books.  I was hoping to take them to guild this weekend to give away, but because our county has explosive Covid-19 numbers right now we've decided to cancel our October meeting.  It's going to be too chilly to meet outside, so this is the responsible thing to do. So the book stack will just continue to grow for now.    

Monday, September 28, 2020

Design Wall Monday - September 28

Isn't this a sweet little panel section?  Snowman Meadow by P & B Textiles has been hanging in my sewing room closet since I purchased it.  Yesterday I was looking at my PIGS (Project in Grocery Sack) list to choose one for October - which is coming up quickly.  It's time to do something with this, and a wall hanging for winter is my current plan.  And it will be a good break from the Halloween UFO I'm trying to finish up in October. 

There are 6 different squares this size on the panel, and then 3 little ones.  I'm thinking about using the larger squares as the center of stars, so finding a red or green for star points is next.  Wonky stars would be fun.   

Today I'm linking up with Design Wall Monday at: 

Sunday, September 27, 2020

A walk in a park

 We had a really great day yesterday with family.  Right now our kids and grandkids are part of our "bubble", but we do try to make most of our time together outside.  

We grilled burgers and hotdogs at our older daughter's house and then went to a nearby state park for an afternoon of exploration.  Palisades is a beautiful area of rocky bluffs along the Big Sioux River in southeastern South Dakota.  It has easy hiking trails, lots of rock formations, a campground, lots of picnic spots - everything a family could ask for on a beautiful fall day.  The 5 grandkids had a blast climbing rocks and threatening to jump into the river.  

I'm so glad my girls suggested we get together and enjoy the outdoors - NOT on a golf course for a change.  I've lived in SD since 1972 (except for 1976-78) and had never been to this state park. Hopefully we'll go there again.  And maybe next summer we could actually explore some other state parks we've never seen.  

Friday, September 25, 2020

Just a couple of blocks

Lori Holt's designs are some of my favorites, in spite of the fact that there are a zillion little pieces in each.  This is the Rooster block from her Farm Girl Vintage 2 book.  Our Sew Vintage group is talking about Chicken Scratch (embroidery), and chickens this month.  Lori Holt has a couple of different chicken blocks in her first FGV book - a mama chicken and a baby.  And then their is the rooster in this second book to complete the little chicken family.  Isn't it cute?  This is the 12" version and I still have all of the 12" blocks from the first book, just waiting to become something special.  This rooster can join the rest of his family, and the other farm critters, foods, and flowers.

I needed 2 more rainbow strings blocks to have enough for a child sized quilt, so here we go.  The aqua block is done and added to the stack.  The yellow one needs a few more strings to cover the other side of the muslin foundation.  Then a quick square up to 9.5", and these will all be ready to lay out with some sashing (black) and colorful corner stones.  A very traditional simple layout plan.  

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

How quilting has changed

 As I worked my way through the set of 30 year old books (Great American Quilts) to purge, I was struck by how much techniques have changed over the years.  Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers would be amazed, wouldn't they?  Wouldn't they just love rotary cutters?

In the 1987 book, the traditional schoolhouse block had templates to trace for each of those pieces. There were no sizes listed anywhere for those pieces either.  In fact there was a packet of plastic templates included with the book with some of the templates ready to cut out and trace.  The first blocks I made when I started quilting in the 80s were traced with a pencil and cut out with scissors.  I still have the cardboard Dresden Plate templates I made.   

And then in the 1995 book, the schoolhouse block appeared again - but this time there were no templates to trace except for the triangles.  Instead of templates for simple squares and rectangles we see the sizes given for the pieces.  And if we look for this same block today we would most likely be given the dimensions for the triangles to be cut diagonally from squares.  No templates at all.  

On a side note - I now have a stack of books about 15" tall, ready to be given away.  And there are many more to go.  

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Finishing & sorting

 I took Monday off and it felt so good to just do what I wanted to do all day.  That included some sewing, and some sorting and organizing.  And I watched an old Spencer Tracy movie while binding this little gem.  Potting Shed is quilted and bound, and hanging up. 

The color is a bit on the "yellow" side because it's hanging in my living room, and this is how overhead lighting makes it look.  But I can enjoy this one hanging here until it's time to hang a Christmas wall hanging from this quilt rail. 

Same room, same lighting - but my big (24 x 36") pillow form arrived yesterday.  Definitely this one is pillow sham size.  

Notice the fall runner and wire pumpkin on top of my treadle machine.  I finally got around to putting out some of my pretty fall decor pieces.  This is a time of year that I enjoy decorating for.  

And the other thing I did yesterday was start the process of going through quilting books in my sewing room bookcase.  There is a whole decade of these Great American Quilts books. These are just the beginning of the book purge.  Many more books will be added to the stack.  I plan to give these away.  

This will be a slow process because I'm going through these to see if there is anything I really want to save.  One final chance to enjoy these books before letting someone else enjoy them.  It will also be slow because the books have to come upstairs, and I'm only carrying small armfuls at a time. 

Monday, September 21, 2020

Design Wall Monday - Sept 21

 My design wall this morning has a fun little UFO on it - the bench pillow for Halloween.  

What's on your design wall this week?

The background along with the top and bottom borders had been done.  But I set it aside before tracing the GAZILLION little applique pieces. That is where I picked up this weekend.  The pieces are now all ironed onto the pillow foundation and ready for some blanket stitching.  It might take me all of the time between now and Halloween to do that blanket stitching.  

I'm not sure which end to begin with, but this pillow will be so cute when it's done. 

The other little Halloween project that is on-going is this one Spooky Houses.  I found a few buttons in my button jar that could work on it, and I still need to applique the bat into the sky.  That will probably happen while I have the black thread going for the bench pillow applique.   

And the black cat iron-on applique patch arrived in the mail on Saturday.  It's the perfect size, but I haven't decided yet if I'm going to use it here.  From a distance it's very difficult to even tell that it's a cat or just a swirly shape.  We'll see - maybe I can find an even cuter black cat.  

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Checking things off my list

 I'm a list maker.  There was always a "to do" list in my office or in my bag when I was working full time.  And I'm still a list maker.  Just call me a nerd.  But it does help me stay focused these days, and I'm one of those people who feels good about checking off something completed on a list of tasks.  Lately I've neglected my list strategy and it's time to get back to it. 

The sticky note list is now on my sewing machine.  That way I can see all of the projects that await some kind of attention soon, even if not this weekend.  Some items, like the Christmas stocking at the bottom, really just need some planning right now.  

The top item - Mason's new mask - is completely done and ready to give him next weekend.  And it's checked off the list.  The second to last item says "trace BOO pillow parts" - and that reflects a UFO that I chose to revisit this month.

This is another bench pillow kit that was lying around.  I had started this and then it became a UFO.  Well, the applique parts are now traced AND cut out.  Check, check.  

I'm getting ready to go sew this morning, while my husband is getting ready to head to the golf course.  My next task is to get the binding ready for Big Rail Fence.  And maybe I'll even get it attached.  After that I plan to sandwich Potting Shed and get it ready to quilt.  

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Saturday - National Sew a Jelly Roll Day

 I was making a list of weekend sewing goals yesterday, and then I checked some of my favorite quilting blogs and websites, as I do most days.  And I answered my phone.  Both of those innocent tasks have added to those goals, or maybe just caused more distraction. 

The phone call let me know that I could pick up a quilt that was quilted.  Yay - it's my Big Rail Fence quilt which is a really OLD UFO.  It will be so good to get this one done and checked off my list.  This will be my next binding task as soon as I finish the QOV binding.  

But the real distraction I saw online is . . .

It made me look in the stash and see what I actually have for jelly rolls.  Of course I found several, but these are the ones that really caught my eye. This rainbow hued jelly roll was in a bag with a pattern and the sashing (black print) that I wanted to use.  This is one of those PIGS, and it may need to move up on the list now that I'm seeing the parts are all ready to go. And it looks bright and happy which is good thing these days.

There is also a gorgeous blue snowflake themed roll with a touch of sparkle.  I'm sure I purchased it because it is so very pretty but didn't really have a plan for it.  Then I found this red/cream/black Christmas jelly roll.  I think this one was purchased to make a Christmas Tree skirt, but without a pattern selected it was neglected.  Both of these would make pretty tree skirts or pillows or holiday wall hangings.  But currently I have no plan - so back in the drawer they go.  For now.

The colorful one on the right was part of a Fat Quarter Shop box (Sew Sampler), and came with a pattern.  I'm not sure I like the pattern, but I do like the colors in the jelly roll.  So, it went back into the drawer along with the others.  The rainbow one is sitting on the shelf now, where I can see it and make that decision - to make soon or wait.  

My first weekend goal however is to make that new mask for grandson Mason who wanted a Houston Texans mask for school.  The parts are cut and lying next to my machine and ready to go this morning.  A person needs priorities, and proper team spirit showing up in a mask for my grandson comes first.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Potting Shed is ready to quilt

 Here it is Friday already, and very honestly I haven't been in my sewing room since Monday.  Too many work hours this week, plus a flair up of hip pain bad enough to not want to do stairs.  This morning I'm playing hooky from both jobs and hobbled down those stairs for some stress relief sewing.

Potting Shed (Kim Diehl Simple Whatnots) is now a complete top and ready to quilt.  All I needed to do was add the final 3 sides of the border and sew together the binding strips.  This is a poor photo as it looks a bit lumpy, but it really does lie flat.  Next step is to sandwich with batting and backing - and then quilt it very simply.  Maybe that will happen over the weekend.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Block of the Month programs

Do you follow any Block of the Month or other Sew Along programs online or at a local shop?  I love a good BOM whether it's online or in person.  I follow some online without participating, but participating is usually lots of fun.  One of my favorite private Facebook groups began with a BOM.  

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) color this month is red, and I have several different blocks happening with this program this year.  This red Ohio Star just makes me smile.  It's so cheerful.  I think I may make one more red one with the colors reversed. Just because I love red.  

And my 2 red Gingham blocks are done too.  Red bandanna print frames the first one.  And the second one has a little Christmas candy showing up.  The fun thing with both of these blocks is that I should have plenty of each for 2 finished quilts.  My other RSC blocks are not as plentiful - yet.

Block of the Month projects make me happy.  I can work on something "new" each month that doesn't take a lot of time. And at the end you have enough blocks to make a whole quilt or sometimes more than one.  The Rainbow Scrap Challenge (online) and the Saturday Sampler (local) programs both keep me motivated.  

There really isn't any pressure with the RSC because I'm working out of my stash and at my own pace.  If I don't get a block done that month, no problem.  The Saturday Sampler provides something new each year.  Sometimes it's a mystery; sometimes we see the finished product before we begin. Sometimes we "shop our stash" and sometimes we get our main fabrics through the program.  RSC challenges us to dig into the scraps and hopefully use them up.  And like most quilters, sewing out of my scrap bins doesn't seem to reduce the volume of them. 

Online, I follow Bonnie Hunter, Pat Sloan, Lori Holt - sometimes participating, and sometimes just getting inspiration.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Spooky Houses progress

 It needs some fun embellishments, and some quilting.  But this little 18" square project is coming together very nicely.  That outer border was a fat quarter hiding in the drawer with my Halloween fabrics. I'm so glad I dug down to the bottom of the drawer to see what I had because it's so cute!!

In the Missouri Star Block magazine they call this Trick or Treat Street and there are multiple blocks with the houses switching directions in a serpentine wave. It's adorable as a whole street.  But since I didn't make a whole street - just one block, I'm going to call this Spooky Houses.  

There is a bat to applique onto the sky, and I may add a couple more doors and/or windows to the houses as well.  I'm open to ideas for quilting this - any thoughts you can share??

Monday, September 14, 2020

Design Wall Monday - September 14

 Another squirrel has distracted me - just when I thought I was getting my focus back.  

I picked up the latest issue of Block magazine/book (Missouri Star) last week but didn't have a chance to really dig into it until Saturday afternoon.  And inside was a DELIGHTFUL Halloween project involving a Dresden Plate design used as houses.  The pattern has multiple sections curving in different directions, but I'm just playing with 1 section.  None of this is appliqued down yet, but it has been fun to play in my Halloween scraps and stash.  

I'm linking up to Design Wall Monday at:

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Bringing Home the Tree

Once the pillow form arrives this pillow will look even better, but I love how it turned out. The envelope back is the same green plaid as the front border.  This is about the size of a bed pillow sham.

Two pillowcases are done now too. I have a goal of getting at least 4 made this month. These were all kitted up and ready to go, so they are a quick finish. 

The Scottie dog pillowcase will match a child size quilt that is also kitted up and ready to sew.  The Hot Wheels pillowcase is for grandson Jack for Christmas.  The kids each get a new pillowcase every year in their Christmas stocking.  


Friday, September 11, 2020

Plenty of red

 I love red.  So it’s easy to focus on red during September for the RSC projects.  Only 1 red block is made so far - a string block.  But I’ve been finding plenty of reds to use over the weekend on some of the others.  The Ohio Star and Gingham blocks will probably be the next ones.

The other red that is happening is on Bringing Home the Tree.  My pillow front is quilted with a simple diagonal stripe, an envelope backing was added from the green plaid, and I’m finishing it with a binding on the edges using the same red as that inner border.  It’s about 24 x 36, and I have a pillow insert ordered.  This pillow will be so cute for Christmas.  I’ll show off the whole pillow another day.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Fall Blessings

Both of the Fall Blessings runners are completely done.  One binding is brown and the other is orange.  I especially love that it doesn't say anything about Thanksgiving - just Fall.  So I will enjoy the one on my table now in early fall, and then put it back out for November.  The wild turkey and pheasant are perfect for my location in eastern South Dakota. We have turkeys in our yard every day, and we live in the middle of prime pheasant hunting territory.  


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

The value of friends

I can't express enough how much I appreciate the people I've "met" online through blogging.  I've even met a couple of you in person now.  For the most part, my social media friends are positive, thoughtful people - and I so appreciate the comments they leave.  I started the blog as my personal journal but it has become so much more. 

I recently received this beautiful handmade card from a blogging friend, expressing sympathy over the loss of our 19 year old kitty.  What a kind gesture, and I know she understands the grief associated with losing our pets because she has gone through it too.  Thank you, Connie!

Another blogging friend made the offer to trade puzzles over the summer.  We have more than quilting and blogging in common. We're both educators.  Even though we've never met, it has been enjoyable to share emails - and now real mail - with her.  This was the puzzle I received from her earlier this summer, along with a couple of adorable fat quarters.  I recently mailed a box in return to Mari.  Hope she enjoys her box as much as I'm enjoying this one. 

And last winter I received this beautiful mug rug in my favorite color from another reader and blogging friend.  It's currently sitting under my coffee cup on my desk, right next to my laptop.  I use it every single day - and always think of the maker LeAnna.  

I belong to a couple of very small private Facebook groups that I initially joined because of the quilting focus of the group.  But those ladies have also become "friends" and I find their online presence such a blessing in this weird world we are currently inhabiting. 

So - I've vented about the pornographic comments and scam comments left on old blog posts - hidden for some nefarious purpose.  But the good things coming from having my online presence overcome those bad things.  Thank you to my readers!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

UFOs, PIGs vs. monthly goals

On a cold, damp day I'm contemplating next projects to tackle.  I personally need a balance between things I WANT to work on, and things that really just need to be finished.  There is binding to work on today - a Quilt of Valor, and the second Fall Blessings table runner.  I suspect I'll have the table runner finished today and will begin working on the QOV binding.  

My monthly goals actually didn't include those table runners so they are a bonus.  But it did include a PIG to start - a Kim Diehl Simple Whatnots project from a couple of months ago.  I plan to do some cutting today on at least one of those PIGs - and get them out of the "Grocery Sacks".  Little steps forward.  


The number drawn for September from the APQ UFO Challenge is #10.  These were the items I have listed at #10.  That Rail Fence quilt is actually in the hands of the quilter, so I have a good chance of it at least reaching the binding stage by the end of September.  It's a really old UFO, so it will feel good to see it finally finished.  The Laundry Line (Kim Diehl) project is small and is one of the PIGs waiting to become WIPs.  So the timing for this one to show up on the UFO Challenge is good.

The Row By Row kits will have to wait for another time.  But ironically I did take one of the two rows already made, and used it to make a pillow earlier this summer.  So I do feel good to have done something with at least one Row, since they're on my UFO list.  

I also WANT to get Bringing Home the Tree at least quilted this week.  Not sure why I didn't put this on my goals for the month.  It is going to be a pillow, but won't be a standard pillow size, so I'll figure out later what to use as a pillow form inside of it.  Most likely I'll be buying a slightly larger one, and then cutting it down to the size needed.  Simple "pencil line" quilting like on the pillow above, or maybe a simple grid, is what I have planned for this new one.  Either should be easy to do with my limited quilting skills.  

Monday, September 7, 2020

Design Wall Monday - September 7

 One of the Fall Blessing table runners is done, and the second one is quilted and the binding is attached.  I just need to stitch it down on the back and clip loose threads.  This one looks good on my dining room table to bring a little autumn into the room. 

The table runners are identical except for binding color. I used a dark pumpkin orange on this one and the second one has dark brown.  Both backs are the orange plaid that is in the narrow areas on the front.  The quilting is just simple straight lines following the 60 degree angles.  One for me, and one to sell or gift.  

I'm linking up to Design Wall Monday:

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Quilts in the park

You’ve seen this quilt before, but I just have to share it again. Our guild met today outside, in a park.  Show n Tell is just as much fun outside.  There were a couple of families playing nearby who probably wondered what was going on.  

There were about 18 of us, so a smaller group than in normal times. But for a holiday weekend, with the state fair also happening, it was a good turnout.  

This pattern is from a Me & My Sisters book called Precut Primer.  This was 6th Grade, but I’m calling mine All Roads Lead to the Middle.  

Friday, September 4, 2020

Too much of everything

Obviously my sewing room is out of control again.  I went down after supper last night thinking I was going to attach that binding onto the QOV.  Standing in the doorway, this old bookcase is what I see first.  And it needs a serious clean-out, even though this is much less messy than most of the rest of the room currently is.   

Top shelf has quilting novels from 2 of my favorite authors - Earlene Fowler and Jennifer Chiaverini.  A couple of old family photos, and a couple of trinkets fill out the shelf.  I'm not good at giving away books, so maybe that top shelf just needs dusting.  LOL

The second shelf has pattern books, a basket full of patterns, and a little paper bag holding a kit.  The kit has sat in that same place for 3 or 4 years.  It's too cute to toss, but . . . am I really going to ever get to it?  At the very least it needs to go on my PIG list.  

Behind the drop down - more patterns.  Bottom 2 shelves - more patterns.  There is a small bookcase at the other end of the room with the pattern books I'm currently using, so all of these have probably not been touched recently.  I set a goal this month to clean up at least one area in the room.  I think this needs to be the one I start with.    


Thursday, September 3, 2020

Lunch hour sewing

With an hour in between work projects yesterday I prepped a binding, pieced a backing, and cut some of the pieces for a piano key border.  

This navy blue binding is the same fabric as the navy sashing on this Quilt of Valor I'm making for a family member who spent his whole career in the Navy.   It's all ready to sew onto the quilt that just came back from the quilter.  I want this one completely done by November 1 as he often comes back to Minnesota to go deer hunting with his brother in November.  But if not, then the quilt will be mailed to Florida, and maybe his daughter will present it for me.  

Piano Key borders always look good but I don't necessarily enjoy making them.  I prefer working from strip sets, but in this case I'm pulling from scraps so I cut a variety of widths by 4.5" long.  I need a bit more variety of color yet but it's a good start.  Then I'll need to make 4 hourglass blocks for the corners - also from scraps. 

Once the borders are ready they will go onto the Kim Diehl Potting Shed mini quilt.  Luckily I don't need a very long strip of piano keys as this is only about 20" square.  

Last but not least I pieced a bright pink backing for this child sized quilt.  This was a Rainbow Scrap Challenge project that I put together back in June.  The block is called Beads or Chandelier, and I mostly used a couple of charm packs plus a few other scraps.  I'm hoping to drop it off with a quilter over the weekend.