Tuesday, January 20, 2015

All Is Well


It's amazing what a good night's sleep will do for one's attitude about and insight into solutions to problems.  There was last night's mess that I didn't want to fix -- that I just wanted to be fixed.  I awoke with more energy and a clearer vision of the problems I would have if I just left the quilt back as it was.  I decided to remove the quilt top (that hadn't yet been pin-basted) and batting and increase the width. 

I added 8" along the left side in the photo above and the back is plenty big now.  It may not be as good as if I'd measured correctly the first time, but it will work.

Thank goodness for sleep!

--Nancy.
.


Measure Twice

You know that old adage, right?  The one that says, "Measure twice, cut once?"  I worked in a wood shop for a few years so I know that adage.  But do I think of it when I'm working on a quilt?  Not usually.

Case in point:

The Sunday Morning quilt top laying on top of batting and backing.  Before making the backing I measured the top at 67 1/2" x 90".  I spent nearly a week making a scrappy back that measures 76" x 98", or a little more.  (I didn't think I needed to be too careful about the outside edges of the back being even so some sections extend wider.) 

I finished the back today, pleased to have batting on hand, pleased that I could get on with the layering, basting, and finally the quilting, which is what I really want to be doing. 

I pinned the back to the floor.  I layered the batting on top.  I carefully laid the quilt on top.  What?  How could the back not have 4" all the way around?  I measured the top again only to find that the real measurement is 74 1/2" x 90".  Disappointment set it.  I am so sad.

As I see it, I have three choices:
  1. Take off the top two layers.  Take out the pins in the back.  And add a strip of fabric along the width of the back.  (I have no interest in doing this.  I'm tired of working on the back of this quilt.)  Or,
  2. Remove one block along the width of the quilt top, thereby making it 67" wide.  Are the proportions out of whack for a quilt to measure 67" x 90"?  Or,
  3. Quilt it as it is and try not to let the top shift (and add fabric to the back if/when I find it needs it.)
Have you ever had this problem?  What did you do?

One more quilting lesson -- learned the hard way.

--Nancy.
.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Scrappy Back In Progress

Scrappy quilt back for Sunday Morning quilt
- a mess on the way to becoming a quilt back -

Sewing together large pieces of fabric is so far out of my comfort zone that I almost backed out of a scrappy back for my Sunday Morning quilt.  It feels like a puzzle but without the help of the photo on the box.


The first challenge was whether to keep the colors light or use medium tones.  I thought if I used medium tones it would be like having two quilts in one, but I couldn't commit to the light and medium back to back so I've stuck with a lighter color range.

The next challenge was whether to use only a particular range of colors.  The quilt has a wide range of light colors -- tints! -- in it.

Then the layout.  Then the measuring, the cutting, the sewing.

I hope it lies flat when all the pieces are finally stitched together.  The layout has been in progress for a few days.  I hope the cutting and stitching will go quickly.  Only a few of the pieces on the lower right have been sewn together and, of course, I may change my mind again about the fabrics and arrangement.

I'm linking to
> Scraptastic Tuesday at She Can Quilt.  Thanks, Leanne.
> WOW at Esther's Blog.  Thank you, Esther.
> WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.  Thank you, Lee.

--Nancy.
.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Book List, 2014

A few years ago my daughter chided me that she hardly ever saw me reading.  I took that as a challenge and have been reading ever since.  I usually fit it in during bathroom breaks (which are sometimes longer than needful).

There are comments about some of the books, especially for the ones I really liked (or had a problem with).

Book of Ages:  The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin.  Jill Lepore
Benjamin Franklin’s sister, Jane Franklin Mecom, is an unknown:  a common, ordinary woman who lived a quiet life doing what needed to be done to stay alive and help her family.  She just happened to have a famous brother.  I love Jill Lepore’s writing style.  At times poetic, at times crisp, always interesting.  Near the end of the book she discusses the challenge of writing a biography about a person who left nearly nothing behind.  This is one of my all-time favorite books.

The World of Downton Abbey: The Rivalry and Romance Revealed, The Secrets and History Unlocked.  Jessica Fellowes

Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life, and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt.  David McCullough
Teddy seemed a joyful person, interested, even exuberant, about life and learning.  I came away wishing I could have known him in person.  Teddy stands tall among my “favorite” men of history, as does his father.

365 Thanks Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life.  John Kralik
Excellent.  It motivated me to be more grateful and to say so.

Glitter and Glue.  Kelly Corrigan
Her profanity was a problem for me.  (It seems to me that an author cheapens herself, maybe even makes herself seem less intelligent, by using such language, especially when the book is written in the first person.)

A Coal Miner’s Bride:  The Diary of Anetka Kaminska.  Susan Campbell Bartoletti
I have coal mining ancestors so this was of interest to me.  Written for teens. 

Still Life With Bread Crumbs.  Anna Quindlen

The Clock Winder.  Anne Tyler

The Moon-Spinners.  Mary Stewart

Calling Invisible Women.  Jeanne Ray
A light, fun (and funny) read.  Clover walks out of the shower one morning and can’t see herself.  (Have you ever felt invisible?) 

The Ivy Tree.  Mary Steward

Airs Above the Ground.  Mary Stewart

The Stormy Petrel.  Mary Stewart

Thornyhold.  Mary Stewart

Step - Ball - Change.  Jeanne Ray

Nine Coaches Waiting.  Mary Stewarrt

Orphan Train.  Christina Baker Kline

Madam, Will You Talk?  Mary Stewart

A Wolf Called Romeo.  Nick Jans
I enjoyed learning about this legend of a wolf and about wolves in general.

The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion.  Fannie Flagg

The Romney Family Table:  Sharing Home-Cooked Recipes and Favorite Traditions.  Ann Romney  

Fifty Children:  One Ordinary American Couple’s Extraordinary Rescue Mission into the Heart of Nazi Germany.  Steven Pressman
Excellent.  What a challenge.

A Perfect Day.  Richard Paul Evan

The Care and Management of Lies:  A Novel of the Great War.  Jacqueline Winspear

Big Stone Gap.  Adriana Trigiani

The Book Thief.  Markus Zusak.
About several youth and their families living in Nazi Germany.  There was some blasphemy.

Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book.  Diane Muldrow

Picture books
Fred Stays with Me!  Nancy Coffelt, illustrated by Tricia Tusa
The Art of Miss Chew.  Patricia Polacco
Because Your Mommy Loves You.  Andrew Clements.  Illustrated by R. W. Alley.

Picture books about potty training.
Once Upon a Potty.  Alona Frankel
I’m a Potty Champion.  Kitty Higgins
The Teddy Potty Book:  Say Goodbye to Diapers.  (No author)
The Potty Book for Boys.  Alyssa Satin Capucilli
My Big Boy Potty.  Joanna Cole
Prince of the Potty.  Nora Gaydos
It’s Potty Time.  Tracey Corderoy
Ian’s New Potty.  Pauline Oud
You Can Go to the Potty.  William Sears, M.D.
Done with Diapers!  A Potty ABC.  Rebecca O’Connell

These Is My Words:  The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901.  Nancy E. Turner
Semi-biographical; based on the life of one of the author's grandmothers.  What challenges she faced!  I liked this quote:  “Mama told me to make a special point to remember the best times of my life.  There are so many hard things to live through, and latching on to the good things will give you strength to endure, she says.”

A Life Intercepted.  Charles Martin
Martin is one of my favorite authors.  His main characters are usually men who, though not perfect, behave in morally upright ways.

She Left Me The Gun:  My Mother’s Life Before Me.  Emma Brockes
Non-fiction about a woman trying to learn about her mother's life.

Paw and Order:  A Chet and Bernie Mystery.  Spencer Quinn

The Snow Child.  A Novel.  Eowyn Ivey

Have you read any good books lately?  Can you recommend one or two?  I'm always on the look-out for a good book to read.

--Nancy.
.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Three Things


ONE.  I'm hoping not to buy more fabric until I've used more (much, much more) of the fabric I have.

TWO.  I need to layer a quilt and begin hand quilting.  I'm at a loss without handwork and I finished the most recent quilt nearly a month ago.  The one above is the next to be quilted.

THREE.   I don't have a piece of fabric large enough for the back of this top (or any of my finished tops).  This means I'll be piecing a back from fabrics I have on hand, including cotton and linen, yardage and pieces.  I think it will be almost like making a second quilt top.  It's the first time I've tried piecing a back from only "scraps."

These are the fabric possibilities.  The photo's a little dark but I hope you get the idea.

It's always hard to choose backing fabric when the fabric in the quilt top is so varied, especially if I don't want a plain fabric.  Even though the top has all pale fabrics, there's a variety of colors - cream, pink, blue, tan, white, and colors between.

It should be fun.  It will feel like a huge success if I can sew small, medium, and large pieces of irregular-shaped fabric into one large back that lies flat (that may be the hardest part) and looks appealing.

Wish me luck!

I'm linking to Design Wall -- January 5, 2015 at Patchwork Times.  Thanks, Judy.

--Nancy.
.


Friday, January 2, 2015

Four Corners Bound - the Last Finish of the Year

I finished very few quilts in 2014 -- maybe only this one -- but that's okay.  The pleasure of playing with fabric, of planning and sewing a quilt top, of hand quilting, are enough for me.  But I do like to share finishes -- and this one was a long time coming.  I began hand quilting it June and finished the quilting in December.  A long time!  I added the binding during the 2nd week of December but because of work and Christmas activities I wasn't able to finish it until last Friday night.


This is the quilt I stewed over because I knew the binding would cut off the points of some of the squares around the edges.  It did but now that it's finished, I see that it's okay.  It's just another step in my learning.


After I wash, dry, and take some decent photos I'll write another post with all the stats and what I learned in making it.

I'm linking this post to
Thank you, ladies.

Happy New Year!

--Nancy.
.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Twelve Days After Christmas

I'm so sad that Christmas is over.  There's such a wonderful lead-up to the day -- good cheer, music, a festive atmosphere -- and then on the 26th it's as if Christmas never happened.  My gentle celebrations of the holiday will continue a little longer with carols, lights on the tree, and maybe a Christmas movie.

I heard "The Twelve Days After Christmas" for the very first time a week or so ago.  It seems appropriate to share it now.  (And then I'll go back to some carols.)  Merry Fourth Day of Christmas to you.



--Nancy.
.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

My Christmas Wish for You


Much of joy and Christmas cheer,
Health-a-plenty through the year,
Shadows light and sorrows few.
This is my Christmas wish for you.

Merry Christmas, friends.

--Nancy.
.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Binding Uneven Edges


The hand quilting is finished on the the Plaid Churn Dash.  It only took about five months - for better or worse.  I wasn't in a hurry and it was a little warm to sit under a quilt during the summer months.

When I laid it out to cut off the extra batting and backing I remembered the unevenness where some of the edge triangles join, shown at the bottom of the photo below.

I asked you readers in an earlier post what you would do in the case of a quilt made years ago before you had enough experience to be successful and whether you would try to fix those large triangles around the edges.  Most of you recommended leaving it and chalking it up to lack of experience, which is exactly what I did.  I think I'll be doing some fudging when I stitch the binding on.

I hope to stitch the binding on tomorrow and then I can begin hand stitching it to the back.

I'm linking this post to WOW at Esther's Blog and W.i.P. Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.  Thank you, ladies for hosting.

--Nancy.
.



Thursday, November 27, 2014

Late but Sincere Wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving





I hope you've had a wonderful
Thanksgiving Day,
rich with blessings
and
with gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving!


--Nancy.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Searching for a Border

The top is stitched together but I haven't decided about a border / borders.  The top is a little on the smallish side at 54" x 72" so it really needs a border.  I thought narrow red then wider tan then a piano-key string border but it didn't work (and I forgot to take photos).  Then I thought narrow red with piano-key strings, but I didn't think that worked either.  Next I considered strips of red sewn together into a wider border.  (I don't know how I managed it but I have a lot of long red strings.)  My next thought was a dark, medium-width border.  I'll have to fold or cut some fabric to try that out.  Size isn't the only reason it needs a border, though.  As it is, it looks incomplete to me.

I worked hard to get the blocks stitched and ironed before family comes to visit this week.  I'll put it away now but after Thanksgiving I hope to pull it back out and give it more thought.

I'm linking this post to WOW at Esther's Blog.  Thank you, Esther.

I hope you're staying warm!

--Nancy.
.



Friday, November 21, 2014

Work and Lice (& Nothing About Quilting)

I did not have much foresight when I was younger.  As my husband and I were preparing to leave for Peace Corps service, my father said, "What are you two doing?  You should be planning for retirement."  I was 28 at the time and retirement seemed in the long-distant future:  no need to think about it on the verge of a new adventure.  And off we went. 

When we returned home I worked for several organizations, both full-time and part-time for varying lengths of time, but none long enough to obtain enough retirement credits in either the public retirement system or in social security.  I'm now approaching retirement age with the need to earn five quarters (spread over at least two years) to quality for social security, the system with which I have the most amount of time.  Needless to say, I've been seeking employment this year to earn one of those quarters.

While job hunting I've seen some interesting job titles, but the most interesting, or maybe the most unusual or the most surprising, was this:



I did not click the link to learn more about this job.  My imagination went wild and I began scratching my head. 

I'll finish one quarter of work this year and will work next year to earn the other four quarters.  But no matter what other job I have to take, I will not be a head lice removal technician.

--Nancy.
.

Monday, November 17, 2014

"November"

You remember that poem about November by Thomas Hood?  Part of it goes like this:
No sun - no moon!
No morn - no noon -
No dawn - no dusk - no proper time of day.
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member -
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! -
November! 
Indeed, Thomas Hood got it right.  But I think this November isn't interested in following the pattern of previous Novembers.  This year November 17 has given us snow!

This is what I saw when I looked out our upstairs hallway window this morning.  There are times in winter when the snow-covered roof blends into a white sky.  It's not winter yet, but that's what happened today.

I love the view from this window.  In spring I see cherry blossoms against blue sky; in summer, green leaves, blue sky, and a brick-colored roof; and in autumn, bronze leaves against a blue or grey sky.  But now... snow.  With this early snow and such cold weather I wonder what December, January, and February will be like.  I'm in for quilting!

I hope you are staying warm!

--Nancy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Beginning to Play

These blocks have been sitting on a cupboard nearly always in view when I'm sewing, cutting, or quilting.  Since I have the strings quilt well underway, I thought I'd put these up and play with possibilities.

No sashing, no corner blocks:
Red Wings with Stars scrap quilt

No sashing, two red corner blocks:
Red Wings with Stars blocks for scrap quilt

Several different sashing possibilities, 1 medium corner block (and a bunch of tape!):
Red Wings with Stars blocks for scrap quilt
I think the color of the sashing on the left makes the quilt look very peaceful and calm.  But maybe it's boring, too.  Below is a red corner block which I like less than the tan, above.

Same sashing as above with red corner block:
Red Wings with Stars blocks for scrap quilt

Other possibilities I might try
  • black, dark brown, dark green sashing with light stars in the corners
  • dark sashing with solid light corner blocks
  • medium sashing with white stars
  • medium sashing with light corner blocks
  • light sashing with red, medium, or dark corner blocks
  • narrow, medium, or wide sashing

On the other hand, maybe no sashing would be perfect.  I just saw photographs here and here of all the blocks together.  Hmmm.  So many possibilities.

I love this part of quilting, the playing with fabrics, patterns, colors.  It takes me a while to make a decision about what I think works for the quilt but for me it's all part of the process.  It has to be since I never use a pattern for a quilt!

I have 41 of the blocks above.  They finish at 9½".  There are 15 with really light backgrounds and 26 with slightly darker backgrounds.  I don't know if I'll put them all together or make some more of the light or the dark ones.  It's all just "let's see what works" right now.

The string quilt looks like this right now:
quilt blocks for Dark Strings scrap quilt
All the corners are sewn.  They are in the process of being trimmed.  Then I'll lay them out, sew them, and decide about a border.  I was thinking a red inner border with an outer border of shorter string blocks, but maybe I'll use an inner border the same color as the corners.

My mind's eye is often fuzzy and inaccurate.  It's better if I actually see things with my real eyes than try to imagine them.

I'm linking this post to
Design Wall at Patchwork Times,
WOW at Esther's Blog, and
WiP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.
Thank you, ladies, for hosting.  I appreciate it.

Best wishes for a great day!
--Nancy.
 .
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...