Wednesday, January 16, 2019

A Lot of Little Pieces

In reality, for this quilt, it will take a lot of tiny pieces to make a quilt of any size. 

The smallest 4-patch blocks are made of 1¼" squares and will finish at 1½".  They become double 4-patch blocks (which will finish at 3"), which become triple 4-patch blocks (which will finish at 6").  There are 88 pieces in those 12" blocks.

The larger 4-patch blocks are cut at 2" and finish at 3½".  They become double 4-patch blocks which also finish at 6".

As I cut, stitch, press, and repeat making these tiny 4-patch blocks the thought keeps running through my mind, Who -- WHO? -- came up with the crazy idea to make a large quilt with such tiny pieces of fabric?  I remind myself that it is because I had small pieces of fabric that I chose this pattern.

Then myself says, But you had to buy more browns because you didn't have enough for the 3½" squares!  At that point I tell myself to hush and just keep cutting and sewing.

This poor photo (↓) is the layout I have in mind.  The width of the blocks below, if stitched together, would finish at a mere 36"! 

I refuse to abandon this quilt after having stitched enough squares to make 20 12" blocks.  I think/hope it will be a good-looking quilt when it's finished, but I need to do something to alleviate boredom or generate enthusiasm.  Imagining the finish isn't doing it for me -- at least not yet. 

Maybe I should cut all the squares I need and use them as leaders/enders while working on some other quilt.  Or, maybe I should consider a small, lap-size quilt instead of a twin bed size quilt.  I've even thought of changing the layout, though I'm not sure it would help me make fewer blocks.

It's not even half a quilt yet.  Maybe--probably--I should just cut and sew and "get 'er done," as they say.

What do you do when you get bored with a quilt in progress?  What is your strategy for finishing it?  Do you plow through, stuff it away, or do something else?

I'm linking this post to
> Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
> Wednesday Wait Loss #102 at The Inquiring Quilter
> WOW (WIPs on Wednesday) at Esther's Blog
> Let's Bee Social #258 at Sew Fresh Quilts
> Midweek Makers #158 at Quilt Fabrication
Thank you for hosting, ladies.


Saturday, January 12, 2019

Raymond and The 70273 Project

Every year at Christmas time I think of Raymond.  He comes to mind at other times of the year, too, of course, but always, always, at Christmas.  And these past months he has been tugging at my thoughts more than usual.  Perhaps it's because of The 70273 Project.

During most of my childhood, Raymond was a name, but I didn't know who he was, though I knew he was someone my dad cared about.  Every year my parents sent a Christmas package to Raymond.  The gifts in the package were chosen with care and included shirts, underwear and socks, gloves, and Raymond's favorite candy.  My parents wanted Raymond to have a happy Christmas.

Then one summer day when I was perhaps 8 or 9, we traveled to visit Raymond who, I later learned, lived in the Pennsylvania State School for the Feeble-Minded.  We parked at the side of the building and somehow my father sent word that we were there to see Raymond.  We waited a few minutes and then an older man, probably older than my father, came out.  He was not very tall and had an unusual gait.  He seemed different, more child-like than man-like.  He recognized my father and they greeted each other.  Then he took my hand and started to walk away.  I hesitated, feeling a little shy and wondering if I should go with this stranger.  My parents gave me a nod of encouragement and we all walked with him.  My memory ends there.  I don't know where we went or what we did.  (Strange how memories often don't provide all the details.)

After we left, my father told us a little more about Raymond and explained that he had an amazing and unusual ability.  Raymond's responsibility at the farm was the chickens.  Dad said that when trying to gather chickens, most folks cause them to scatter.  Dad had watched Raymond with chickens before:  he spread his arms wide and the chickens gathered in toward him and then went wherever he directed them.  Dad said we'd never see anything like it again, except with Raymond.  He explained that Raymond was a very gentle person, something I think I sensed while we were together that day.  The only other thing Dad said about him was that something had happened to his family and he lived with Maw and Pap Doyle, Dad's grandparents, for a while.

In my family history research, I learned that when I met him Raymond was living at the State School for the Feeble-Minded in Polk, Pennsylvania.  I'm still trying to learn the rest of Raymond's story.  But you can see why Raymond would come to mind when The 70273 Project crossed my path a few months ago.  How could I not think of Raymond knowing that the Nazis killed at least 70,273 infants, children, and adults because they were physically or mentally disabled.  Had he lived in Germany during Hitler's reign, he would likely have been put to death, too.

The 70,273 Project commemorates those special individuals who were killed in Germany between January 1940 and August 1941, by creating quilt blocks with two red Xs on them.  The white background represents the papers of an individual's medical file.  The red Xs represent the two doctors' marks written on a person'sform giving the approval for the person to be killed.  (You must know that about 300,000 physically or mentally disabled individuals were killed by the Nazis.)

I've made some blocks for Raymond.  And for my friend's daughter, Mary.  And another friend's sister, Drusy.  They were able to live long, full lives, and I'm grateful for that.

If you'd like to participate in this project, and want info about block sizes, etc., you can find it here.  You can read an overview of the project here.  The provenance for to send in with your blocks is here.  Many thanks to Jeanne Hewell-Chambers for inviting us to participate. 

Oh, and if you want to read more about Raymond and his story, you can at these posts:  here, here, and here.

I hope I can get these off in the mail on Monday.


Sunday, January 6, 2019

Slow Stitching Today

This is a wholly boring photo of my current slow stitching.  It's the Pineapple block for Linda Brannock's "Flowers" quilt.  I have the two triangles, bottom right to finish before I move to the pineapple leaves.

I wasn't going to do the triangles.  I saw someone else use adorable, little 9-patch blocks instead but figuring out the math to make the change was beyond my abilities of concentration just now.  So the triangles it is and I like them just fine.

This block is for the Linda Brannock Flowers quilt-along on Facebook.  I have this "Pineapple" block to finish.  It will look something like the one at right when it's finished, with different colors, of course.

I have one more block to make, Marigolds and Blueberries, and then I'll be finished with the applique blocks.  The challenge will come with choosing colors for the sashing which consists of squares made of half-square triangles.  One possibility is to use a consistent brown/putty color for one side of the square and colors from the flower blocks for the other side of the square.  I'll have to try some layouts to decide.

We learned in December that our Airedale girl, Hannah, has lymphoma.  She is 12, going on 13.  She's feeling okay now but lymphoma can cause a quick change.  I know pets are not humans but they are family members (at least, for my family and me) and their going can break a heart just like the passing of a beloved human family member.  We will miss our dear girl but for now we hope she continues to feel okay for a while.

I'm linking this post to Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts.  Thanks for hosting, Kathy.


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Wishing You a Happy New Year and January's One Monthly Goal

Happy New Year!  I wish you a wealth of happiness, an abundance of joy, blessings beyond your imagination, and plenty of time to stitch in 2019.

This is our third day of grey, grey weather.  It's mid-day and I need the lights on to see!  I love this about Ohio winters but I also dislike it.  On days like this nothing calls to me more than a nap.  Of course, it could be I want a nap because it's a holiday today; or because I just spent five days with four little ones 6 and under.  But I'm resisting, at least for now.

Today I'm choosing fabrics for the pineapple block for Linda Brannock's quilt. 

I haven't pulled background fabrics yet but I'm trying to decide whether either of these fabrics looks pineapple-y enough to use.   I think of pineapples as golden but when I look at photos online it's only the ripe ones that are mostly golden.  The less ripe ones have green, tan, and gold in their skin.  (Images here.) 

What do you think about these two fabrics for the pineapple?  I have to be creative--imaginative-- because if my limited fabric choices. 

I thought this was a block I would not want to change but I find that I'm not sure about the appliqued triangles across the bottom.  I'm still playing with fabrics and will choose, perhaps when there's more light outside.

My One Monthly Goal for January is to finish hand appliqueing this pineapple block. 

Quips from my grandchildren

M, grandson age 6:  "I'll be researching that at school when I go back."  Really?  They teach children to research in first grade now?

O, granddaughter age nearly 5, while playing Old Maid and after taking a card:  "I have a match to that."  She fanned out her hand, looked at the cards, and said, "Apparently not."  Really?!  Little kids use the word "apparently" these days?  It nearly cracked me up and it was really hard not to laugh.

How I love those little ones!

Again, I hope you have a Happy New Year and a wealth of blessings!  (And now, at 3:30, I'm going for a nap because it looks like the sun has already set!)

I'm linking this post to One Monthly Goal January Goal Setting Link-up at Elm Street Quilts.  Thank you for hosting, Patty.


Monday, December 31, 2018

Reviewing 2018 Quilty Progress

I decided to cheer myself up this afternoon (after the sadness of saying goodbye to my daughters, my four grandchildren, and my son-in-law) by looking over my progress this past year.  It wasn't really such a cheerful experience with only two finishes.  Ah, well, another year's coming.

Of the 82 posts I published in 2018, there were only two about completely finished quilts.  Most other posts were about works in progress or miscellaneous posts.  This is my quilty year in review.


Autumn Barn Stars for Noah

Utility Stars

In Progress but Unfinished

Little Rubies triple four-patch blocks (and here).  This is a true scrap quilt.  I had leftovers of reds and browns, just trying to get rid of them.  The two sizes of four-patches and double-four-patches are sewn together but they're not yet sewn into blocks.  Looking at the photo, I see some blocks whose placement will change.

The Blue and the Gray, a Civil War quilt.  All the blocks are made for this quilt, I just need to cut the sashing, choose the layout, and stitch.

Everyday Patchwork, a Cheri Payne sampler quilt.  This is my first sampler quilt.  To finish this quilt I need to cut black sashing, arrange the blocks, and stitch.  There is some applique on the border, too.

Linda Brannock's Flowers, an applique sew-along.  I still have two blocks to make and half-triangle squares for sashing.

Sweet Land of Liberty, a sew-along I began late and couldn't keep up with.  It has many applique blocks and many pieced blocks!  The sew-along repeats again this year and I'll try to keep up.

Posts by the Numbers (least viewed first)
Victory Bowl and Liberty Fish Plus a Few Stars
Borders on Everyday Patchwork
The Lure of Online Fabric Shops
Hand Quilting Utility Stars
An Error in Judgment
Nothing to Do
Into Thin Air
Volunteer Blooms and Berries
A Finish! (most comments)
Blue Stars (most views)

One of the things I hope I've learned this year is to choose more carefully.  There are so many wonderful and enticing sew-alongs offered throughout the year.  It seems a new one pops up at least monthly on blogs or on Facebook.  Too often I think, "Yes, I can do that.  It won't take much time."  Or, "Oh, that's beautiful.  I'd love to have a quilt like that."  Then I join in without thinking through how much time it will really take or how difficult it might be.  With a limited amount of time to devote to quilting, I need to be more careful about my choices.  It's easy to keep working on others' patterns and ideas and let my ideas for quilts go by the wayside.  I want to avoid that this year.  Of course, I have enough quilts in progress that I probably shouldn't choose to start a new quilt until at least one or two are finished.

I also hope to layer several tops and quilt them this year.  With so much hand applique to do it leaves me less/little time to hand quilt.  I need a course correction in that area.

I'm linking this post to Best of 2018 Linky Party at Meadow Mist Designs.


Friday, December 28, 2018

The Last Little Finish of 2018

This is one of my favorite blocks from the "Flowers" quilt by Linda Brannock.  She calls it "Stocks."  I'm calling it "Snaps."  Stocks' colors didn't go with the rest of the quilt but snapdragons' colors work much better.  This block is 7½" x 23½" unfinished.  The perfect size for tall flowers.

Stocks from Linda Brannock's Flowers Quilt

My One Monthly Goal for December was to finish appliqueing the blocks below, "Cacti" and "Stocks."  I'm pleased to have finished both before the last day of the month (and the year!).

Two blocks from Linda Brannock's Flowers Quilt

Both are far less than perfect.  The patterns are quirky to begin with, but I think my interpretation adds another level of quirkiness to them.  The vase on the right -- oh my gosh thank goodness it's fabric and not ceramic.  If pottery it would certainly tip over and spill both water and flowers.

It's going to be interesting to see how all the blocks for this quilt work together (or fail to do so).  There are two more to stitch:  "Pineapple" and "Marigolds and Blueberries."

I'm linking this post to
> Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts
> One Monthly Goal December Finish Link-up
> Peacock Party at Wendy's Quilts and More
Thank you for hosting, ladies.


Thursday, December 27, 2018

Nativity Scenes for Little Hands

Curious little minds and active hands caused me to reconsider setting out our hand-made Nativity from Guatemala this year.  The smaller Nativities stayed in their boxes, too, lest pieces be lost.  I decided that my small collection of Nativity Christmas cards would be better — no broken shards should they fall, no concerns about cards carried to bed or left on the floor.  My granddaughter helped me choose the best place for each but I think she and I were the only ones to notice them.  I thought I would share them here, just to keep Christmas going a little longer.

Some were cards we received in the past.  Usually I cut the back off and saved just the front.

Some have reproductions of famous paintings.

One is from the 1950s, found in a box purchased at an auction years ago, and depicts Jesus, Mary, Joseph, shepherds, and the Magi.

Some have one or more angels announcing his birth or surrounding him.

All show Jesus Christ as an infant.  I love these cards and enjoy seeing them every Christmas.  I know I would be sad if one were ripped or torn but I would not be as sad as if one of the ceramic figures were dashed to pieces (or worse, if one of the children were hurt by the shards).

It is always a disappointment to me that on December 26 it is as though the celebration of Christmas didn't exist (except in the return lines and the half-off Christmas sales at stores).  So, the sweet joyful feeling of Christmas continues at our house, not because of family visiting, or mountains of sweets, or more gifts to give and receive.  I think the spirit of Christmas continues because I'm still listening to Christmas music, enjoying the lights, and thinking of the blessings of the birth of my Savior. 

In the midst of play one day while my nearly-five-year-old granddaughter was here, she gave me two plastic bags with five little foil bundles in them inside more plastic bags.  When I opened them I didn't begin taking photos until there were only several left.  Inside those foil bundles I found two tiny chocolate chips and a cheese-nip cracker; three red, chewy candies; another cheese-nip; and a child-sized handful of tiny chocolate chips.

My little O is the sweetest granddaughter!

I know there many days until I will have to begin thinking beyond the holiday to finishing quilts and jumping into regular activities, but for now, it's Christmas for me.  I hope you're continuing to savor the joy that is Christmas, if you celebrate the holiday.


Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Snaps Instead of Stocks

Linda Brannock calls this block "Stocks."  There are several flowers with long stems and circular flowers:  stocks, gladiolus, and snapdragons.  From a distance I think they look similar but the color ranges are different for each.

Linda's flowers are stocks but I chose to stitch snapdragons simply because I liked the color range for the snaps more than the other flowers.  And this block needed to have flowers in the coral range of colors.

So here I am with five days to go to finish this block.  I have the little "table" at the bottom and the lower edges and bottom of the vase to stitch.  I think I can finish by December 31 to meet my One Monthly Goal.

I don't generally keep up with such news as colors of the year but the announcement that Pantone's Color of the Year 2019 is Living Coral caught my eye.  This color range has been one of my favorites off and on for decades.  

I have a nice stack of fabrics in these colors so perhaps a "Living Coral" quilt is in my future this year.  Anyone else like this color?

I hope you had a great Christmas (if you celebrate it).  Our older daughter and her family came to spend Christmas with us.  Our home seemed busy and full with four little ones ages 6 and under.  They left this morning and today I'm taking it easy!  Our younger daughter will be home tomorrow for a few days and our older daughter and family will return for the weekend.  I love these family times.  Not that I'm expecting to die soon but at my age one can never take time with family for granted.  I want to spend every moment possible enjoying my daughters and these delightful little beings.

I'm linking this post to
> Wednesday Wait Loss #99 at The Enquiring Quilter
> Let's Bee Social #255 at Sew Fresh Quilts
> Midweek Makers #155 at Quilt Fabrication
Thanks for hosting, ladies.

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