Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Star and Centers for Flowers

I've been working on my Gwenny-Inspired Medallion quilt.  This might look like a small star....

scrappy star for gwennie-inspired medallion quilt

And I'm still trying to decide on the centers for the flowers in the basket in the center of the medallion.  The "perfect" fabric seems to be elusive -- or at least not in my collection.  Ha!

applique flower for gwennie-inspired medallion quilt

applique flower for gwennie-inspired medallion quilt

applique flower for gwennie-inspired medallion quilt

I tried several yellows and they looked garish.  Blues/aquas/turquoises looked bland.  Red won't do it because the flowers are all in the red range.  Brown was too dark.  I don't think I want solid black.  This checked black layered with this yellow/coral may work -- or not.  It works with the basket better than any of the other centers but I need to look at in the daylight, too.  I may finish the quilt and still be trying to decide on the centers for these flowers -- but I hope not!

Thanks for visiting and especially thanks if you leave a comment.

I'm linking this post to
Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
WOW at Esther's Blog
Let's Bee Social #130 at Sew Fresh Quilts
Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation

Happy day to you!
--Nancy.
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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Stitching Oh-So-Slowly Today

I have just this strip of blue sashing to hand quilt and this quilt will be finished.


I'm normally thrilled to finish a quilt but this one, not so much.  That's because I don't have other handwork ready to begin.  No quilt layered and basted, no applique to stitch, nothing. 

Sometimes when quilting is my handwork and I'm also working on sewing quilt blocks and I'm also thinking about some process on a third quilt I forget to plan ahead to have handwork ready.  Tomorrow I'll give more thought to which quilt to layer next and/or choose a hand applique project.  (I like having small handwork to take in the car.)

Are you doing some slow stitching today?  If so, I hope you find it restful, relaxing, and rejuvenating.

I'm linking this post to Slow Stitching Sunday at Kathy's Quilts.  Click the link to see the slow stitching others are doing today.

I hope you have a pleasant and restful Sabbath.  (And Happy Birthday to my daughter!)

--Nancy.
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Friday, June 17, 2016

Sweet and Simple

Two-year-old Olivia likes dresses best in summer heat -- they are so much cooler -- so I made her a simple, little play dress. 


I chose sweet fabric and used an older pattern:  New Look #6367.  The pattern calls for a faced bodice but I wanted O's dress to be as cool as possible so I altered the pattern, cut bias tape from the dress fabric, and used it around the neckline and armholes.  Instead of the extra layers from plackets for buttons, I stitched a turned in the seam at the back and used loops instead of buttonholes.  All seams are French seams except where the bodice meets the skirt.  It's ready for wash-and-wear and plenty of play.  Hooray for a finish!


I had forgotten that printed pattern sizes run larger than the sizing of ready-made clothes.  O wears a size 2 dress and according to pattern measurements she should wear a size 2 pattern, but when I measured the paper pattern pieces they were inches too large.  Instead of cutting according to the pattern information I cut two sizes smaller.  Little O doesn't live close enough for me to run over and have her try this on but I have no doubt that it will fit, probably with growing room.

I hope both she and her mom like it.  I've found that if mom doesn't like something (book, toy, item of clothing) it doesn't get used and the child doesn't have a chance to choose whether she likes it or not.

I one more little dress to stitch.  After it's finished we'll either take them when we visit next or send them along via regular mail.

I'm linking this post to finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, WIPS Be Gone at A Quilting Reader's Garden, and Can I get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.  Thanks for hosting, ladies.

I hope you have a great weekend!
--Nancy.
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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Two Stars a la Gwen Marston

I've made two stars a la Gwen Marston's instructions (more or less).  The stars themselves are closer to white/natural in real life.  They look cream/yellow because of the nighttime photograph.

wonky star

I thought it was clear in my mind how to place the triangles onto the squares to sew them but when it came down to it the placement was a challenge.  The star points were sometimes too close to the edge.

I wasn't aiming for perfect stars but I do want the tips of all the points inside the edge of the square.  I don't think the one below will measure up to that expectation.

wonky star

The top star will finish at about 4 1/2", the bottom at 5 1/2".  Both are too large for the way I'm imagining their use.  They may -- or may not -- become part of the Gwenny-inspired medallion quilt.  I find them a little fiddly to make and somewhat wasteful of fabric (which is less of a problem because I'm using scraps than it would be if I were cutting yardage to make them).  I don't expect to need more than five to seven of them but I won't know till I get them made and lay them around the center.

I'm linking this post to Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework and Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation.  Thanks for hosting, ladies.

Thanks for visiting.  I hope you have a great weekend.

--Nancy.
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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Shortening a Quilt

This in-progress quilt needs to be a little shorter.  It can be because the pieced setting triangles on the ends really only need to be half-block size plus 1/4" for the binding.  Below is the first step in making them that size.


I laid the quilt out on the floor and smoothed the ends, squaring the quilt as much as possible.  Then I aligned my 24" ruler along the center of those blocks.  (In the photo above, the ruler was not yet properly placed.  I shifted it forward a bit on the right side.)  Once the ruler was exactly in place I drew a line across the fabric with a soft lead pencil.  I've been quilting just past the line.  When the quilting is finished, I will cut 1/4" beyond the line and stitch the binding at the penciled line.

I hope it works!  I hope I don't lose any seams or any quilting stitches when I cut those edges.

I suppose quilters with more experience than me are probably shaking their heads, knowing how much easier it would have been to make the half-blocks the size they needed to be to begin with.  (This was the first time I converted a regular block to a setting triangle and I didn't know what I was doing.)  Or possibly those experienced quilters have better ideas to shorten this quilt than what I've done.  If so, I hope they will share them.

I've quilted five half-blocks and have three to go to reach my One Monthly Goal for June.

This is one of my works in progress this week.  I'm linking this post to WOW at Esther's Blog and Let's Bee Social #129 at Sew Fresh Quilts.  Thanks for hosting, ladies.

--Nancy.
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Sunday, June 12, 2016

Amazing Thread - Slow Stitching

Today's slow stitching will include a neckline and sleeve hems on a little summer play dress for my granddaughter


and one more leaf on my basket of flowers block.  It should be a peaceful Sunday afternoon or evening.

I've been thinking about the wonder of thread this week and last as I sewed a dress and hand appliqued flowers, stems, and leaves. 


Isn't it amazing that something so fine and thin can hold two pieces of fabric together?  Really!  When you think about it -- the seams in clothing or three layers of a quilt, all held together with one narrow length of almost-nothing.  And just as amazing is that those fine threads, or sometimes finer than the ones we use for sewing, are woven together to make fabric which is both durable and beautiful.  (I'm one of those who thinks plain, unprinted fabric is beautiful, too.)  I'm so thankful to whoever imagined and invented thread.

I love that thread is smooth.  I love that it's usually shiny.  Older cotton thread seems to have more of a sheen than modern thread, though I don't know why.  I have some old spools that just practically glow.  Wonderful!

I love that there are so many colors of thread.  I love that some threads have a chameleon-like quality that allows them to blend with whatever color of fabric they're sewn onto.  I accidentally bought an extra spool of apricot thread.  I've been using it to machine-stitch light-colored fabrics.  It leans toward whatever light fabric I'm sewing -- pink, yellow, cream, tan, even light green.  Amazing!  I used a light green thread to bast a brown basket.  It looked cream.  And I'm using a green to sew the blue dress for my granddaughter.  On the spool it looks green but when stitched it looks like a perfect match.  (I do usually match thread when I sew clothing but not in this case:  it's a play dress; I didn't have a match on hand; and I didn't have time or the inclination to go to the fabric store to buy a spool of thread of which I'd use less than a bobbin's worth.  For a play dress it won't matter.) 

I continue to be amazed and thankful for thread.  Without it there's so much I wouldn't be able to do. If you're sewing today, I hope you enjoy the thread that your needle pulls through the fabric to hold two pieces together.

I'm linking this post to Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts.

Happy Sabbath to you!

--Nancy.
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Thursday, June 9, 2016

A Basket of Flowers

Gwennie-Inspired Medallion Quilt

This basket of flowers is the center for a Gwennie Inspired Medallion quilt.  Lori of Humble Quilts and several other bloggers are hosting a sew-along and invite anyone who wants to participate to join.  I'm running a little late with the quilt-along.  I've had some other commitments that had a higher priority and now that most of them are finished, I've been able to devote some time to stitching the appliques for this quilt.

I deliberated whether to link this with the Gwennie sew-along.  It probably doesn't look like anything Gwen Marston ever made or even might make.  And yet upcoming borders will, I hope, show a little more of her influence (now that I've finally been able to get some of her recent books to see what she's up to these days).

This experience is far outside my comfort zone for several reasons:  not having a clue about the end from the beginning; making such a large applique center and hand appliqueing it; keeping four borders flat(!); trying to copy Gwen Marston's style....  All of it is a challenge, but I know I'll learn something (many things, perhaps) by doing it. 

The background behind this basket of flowers measures 21" x 25".  The largest flower is about 6" across, the smallest about 4 1/2".  I cut the basket, flowers, and leaves from paper then cut them out of fabric (changing as I went along) and hand appliqued them.  It's amazing what a good moistening and pressing will do to smooth out a block that's been handled so much!

As you can probably tell the flowers are awaiting their centers.  I'm undecided about color, fabric, and size--but am narrowing it down.  The next time you see this basket the flowers will have their centers.  And I think it may need one more leaf.

Humble QuiltsThere will be four borders on this quilt.  Each border theme will be chosen by one of four other quilters.   The first theme, suggested by Cynthia of wabi-sabi quilts, is "Childhood."  Hmmm.  I was expecting "triangles" or "log cabins," but I'm good with childhood.  It allows for lots of options.  I already have a list of a dozen or so possibilities.

Thanks to Lori for hosting this sew-along.  I'm headed to the link-up at her blog now to see other participants' baskets.  Won't you join me?

--Nancy.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

One Monthly Goal (OMG) for June

My One Monthly Goal for June is to finish hand quilting this quilt.

Sister's Choice (variation) quilt block

The reason it's not already finished is the half-blocks on the ends.  When I made those pieced side-setting triangles I knew the grain of the fabric needed to align with the edges of the quilt and I redrafted the half blocks so the bias wouldn't be along the edges.  I extended them a little because I didn't know what I was doing.  (You know, that first-time-and-let's-see-if-this-works experience.)  I left them that size, thinking it would be easier to cut them off than have them too small.  In retrospect, I think that was probably a bad idea.

pieced side-setting triangle

This quilt is one of those too-long quilts and now I want to get rid of the extra 1 1/2" on each end.  A more experienced quilter might consider it an easy fix (or wouldn't be in this situation at all) but I see problems:  seams unraveling, crooked or wavy edges, etc. . . .

There are eight of these half-blocks and I've quilted parts of four of them:  all the parts that don't go to the edge of the quilt.  I'll have to spend some time deciding how to measure and mark the edges, and then quilt them.

These setting triangles have become such an ordeal (a mental roadblock, so to speak) that instead of just quietly finishing the quilt, I have to set fixing those edges as a specific monthly goal so I can finish it!

I think one of the wonderful things about life is that we can learn as we go. 

I'm linking this post to One Monthly Goal June Linkup: Goalsetting at Red Letter Quilts.  Thanks for hosting, Heidi.

--Nancy.
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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Traveling Fast, Stitching Slowly

We drove three hours to Kentucky and back today to celebrate the naming and blessing of our little grandson.  In truth, my husband drove and I rode so I had some time to stitch.   A basket, some stems....


When my eyes weren't focused on the needle and fabric, I noticed the beautiful countryside in Kentucky -- luscious greens, black barns with quilt blocks painted on the sides, and horses with colts and foals.  Gorgeous!

And here's that adorable little grandboy of mine.  He's as round as anything you can imagine with blue eyes that melt your heart and a sweet, easy-going disposition.  At five months he's ready to move but hasn't quite managed the coordination to move far on his own -- yet.

I'm linking this post to Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts.  Click over to see others' hand stitching projects.  Thanks for hosting, Kathy.

--Nancy.
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Saturday, June 4, 2016

#BraveQuilter in June at Pink Doxies

I'm claiming this basket block as my #BraveQuilter challenge for June.  The only parts appliqued in this photo are the basket and stems.  The rest of the pieces are either paper or fabric.  Layout of the stems (and therefore, to some extend, the flowers) is set, layout of the leaves is not.

I'm thinking of this as a brave effort for several reasons.

This is the largest applique I've ever tired.  It is in the 21" x 24" range.  Am I crazy to think I can keep it flat?

I'm working without a plan for the completed quilt.  I usually have a vague idea what I imagine a finished quilt might look like, but not this time.  This is part of the Gwen-Inspired Medallion Quilt Along at Humble Quilts.  We'll be told the "theme" for each new border at the beginning of each month.  We can choose how we interpret the theme, colors, etc., but still, there's no plan.  Ahh, I'm shaking in my shoes over this one.

And the borders!  I struggle with borders.  I just added three borders to a quilt and barely succeeded in keeping them flat, and only one was pieced.  How will I manage borders on this quilt?  (There will be four!)   

I'm feeling just a little trepidation as I continue appliqueing this basket and flower block.  I'll report back at the end of the month.

I'm linking this post to #Brave Quilter June Linky at Pink Doxies.  Thanks for creating and hosting this challenge, Julie.

--Nancy.
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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

An Old Brown Silk Log Cabin Quilt

I saw this silk quilt at a local antique mall.  I photographed it but did not buy it.

The brown and purple are unusual colors together.  And then there are those four blocks with blue and white.

The center blocks were cut from a fabric with a woven stripe.

A close up of the blocks with blue and white.

The logs were sewn to backing fabric.

Someone who knows fabric might be able to tell the age of the quilt based on this backing fabric.

I thought it was interesting that the blocks were quilted but the quilt had neither batting nor backing.

I think it would be interesting to know the history of this quilt but as far as I could tell there was no provenance recorded.

We go to this antique mall about once ever other month and there are always new quilts and rarely do we see the same ones we saw on the previous visit.  I'm sure this one will find a good home, too.

--Nancy.
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Monday, May 30, 2016

Always Remember to Never Forget





With gratitude to those who gave
their all to preserve freedom for
so many.  You are remembered.



--Nancy.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Basket about to Be Appliqued

Last night I scattered paper patterns out of the way, laid the fabric basket in place, and snapped this photo knowing I would do some slow stitching today.

fabric basket about to be appliqued

When I applique I usually turn the edges under and pin them but this time I tried something different.  I used a running stitch to hold the folded edges in place.  It worked well except where I turned the edge in too much or too little.  But it was easy to adjust and I didn't miss trying to keep the thread from tangling in the pins.

I left the top of the basket and both sides of the handle unstitched because I'll be adding stems behind the handle.

The background for this basket is about 21" x 25".  It's much bigger than any applique I've ever done.  I hope it's still lays flat after I've appliqued all the pieces.  (I feel so brave even attempting this challenge.)

This basket is the center for my Gwen-inspired basket medallion quilt.  I don't suppose this looks like it was inspired by Gwen which is because it really wasn't.  I had this in mind before the medallion quilt-along was announced.  I anticipate the subsequent borders will give me plenty of opportunities to hone some new improv and liberated quilt-making skills.

I'm linking this post to Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts.

--Nancy.
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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Busy Buckeye Beauty

I think this quilt of Buckeye Beauty blocks is one of the busiest I've made.  When I look at the photo from a distance they look star-like to me but up close and in person . . . whew!  My eyes bounce all over the place.

Buckeye Beauty quilt blocks
I planned for 42 6" blocks plus a border.  These are the 42 blocks, not yet sewn together.

I looked at the layout above for a few days and then today I pulled the green ones and laid them together.  Hmm.  Better, but still bouncy.  And maybe a little boring? 

Buckeye Beauty quilt blocks in green

This was a quick change from the layout of all blocks and a quick photo.  You may (or may not) notice that the top row is out of arrangement with the rest of the blocks.  The blocks are not identical:  the light centers are oriented in one direction diagonally and the dark centers oriented in the other, and the 4-patches in the corners are arranged differently for light and dark blocks.  

I'm trying to decide whether I really want to make this (in either multi or green) for a grandbaby quilt.  Maybe it will work if I just make some changes in future blocks.  Maybe the really light lights are too light.  Or maybe it is just too busy.  Or maybe there are too many different greens for such a small quilt.  I can't quite put my finger on why I'm not happy with this quilt/these blocks.

There were six red blocks which I laid together.  Still bouncy but since red is my favorite color, I like them better.
Buckeye Beauty quilt blocks in red and lights


I guess I'm still scouting around for the perfect block/quilt for my grandbaby boy.  If not this quilt, I know I'll find one soon.

I hope you have a great weekend.

--Nancy.
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Friday, May 27, 2016

Green Buckeye Beauty Blocks

Buckeye Beauty quilt blocks in green

These Buckeye Beauty blocks make for a busy quilt, don't you think?  Maybe too busy?

These are 6" blocks.  I think a 6 x 7 layout with 42 blocks and a border would be a good size for a baby quilt.

I'm linking this post to today's Rainbow Scrap Challenge at soscrappy.  Click over to see how others are using green scraps.

--Nancy.
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