Monday, February 8, 2016

Oh, No!  An Applique Mistake!

I always think I am being so careful when I cut the back of applique blocks.  But somehow, this morning -- the first time ever --
applique cutting mistake
I cut through the rust-colored fabric into checked fabric of the top circle!  The rust fabric behind the circle is completely cut away.  I was trimming inside the circle a little more.

Now what?  I searched the internet but didn't find any information about fixing a mistake like this.

Can I patch it?  Can I unstitch part of the plaid circle, sew a straight seam to add fabric, trim it, and re-stitch?

I doubt I will be able to unstitch the whole circle, replace it, AND have it come out looking remotely round.  I don't have the experience or ability (yet, if ever) to do it.

Will I need to begin again, from the background fabric up?

I stitched the rust circle yesterday while watching Downton Abbey.  I stitched (and cut the hole in) the checked fabric this morning.

This is what it looked like before I cut the slice out of it.
applique star on scrappy background


Have you ever had a problem like this?  If so, how did you resolve it?

I'm linking this post to Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts and Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework.  Thanks, ladies.

I hope you're making progress (and not regress, as I am) with your quilting endeavors!

--Nancy.
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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

About a Book:  Quilt Local

Heather Jones's book, Quilt Local:  Finding Inspiration in the Everyday, is a beautiful book.  The photographs are as bright and beautiful as the fabric she uses to create her quilts.  Heather travelled around Ohio, photographed various places throughout the state, then took inspiration from what she saw to create quilts.  Many of the quilts in the book are based on architectural details.

Chapter 1 includes the author's thoughts on  the process of obtaining inspiration from the everyday things she sees around her and four ways that help her keep track of the inspiration.  Chapter 2 focuses on her "idiosyncratic lesson" in color theory (with gorgeous photographs!).  Chapter 3 covers her process in sketching and planning a quilt.  And in Chapter 4 are basic methods of quilt construction.  The rest of the book is devoted to the quilts she's created.

There are directions to make 18 quilts with color variations for all.  Each quilt is named for the location of its inspiration with names like Lebanon, Dayton, Eden Park, Terminal, and Red Lion.  She introduces each quilt with a "biography."

The book is photo-rich with views of her sketchbooks, pages that include a photograph of the inspiration, a layout of each quilt, and measurements for cutting.  The book also includes photos of the finished quilts. 











I think of these quilts as primarily modern and minimal and probably not quilts I would make.  But, of course, I would love this book:  she writes about the inspiration behind her quilts!

I highly recommend this book if you're interested in creating quilts based on inspiration, in seeing inspiration in everyday objects, in learning about how another quilt designer works, and/or in viewing some gorgeous photographs.  Or you'd like to make any or all of the quilts.

--Nancy.
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Monday, February 1, 2016

One Monthly Goal for February, 2016

One Monthly Goal.  Just one--for a definite finish in February.  It might kill me.  (I'm such an exceedingly slow stitcher.)  I might have to watch a movie (or two) every day to finish.  I might . . . .  But Wait!  It's good to push myself, right?


My One Monthly Goal for February is to finish sewing the circles on these stars.  As of February 1, there are 65 circles to be sewn onto 33 stars.  With only 29 days in the month, it means I have to sew more than two circles per day!  Ouch.  But barring all emergencies or difficulties or challenges, I should be able to do it.  (I only wish sewing circles were as much fun as sewing the stars has been.)

I'm linking this post to OMG: One Monthly Goal Linkup - Time for February Goals! at Red Letter Quilts.  Thanks for hosting the link-up, Heidi.

Nancy.
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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Circles on Star

For Slow Sunday Stitching I'll be attaching these circles.


I'll work on a second block if I finish this one.

I'm linking to Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts.  Today she wrote about staying the course when making a quilt.  It's so much easier for me when I love the quilt I'm working on -- the blocks, the fabric, the colors, etc.  When I'm hesitant or not completely committed to what I'm doing, it's easier to lay it aside.  Sometimes I make sample blocks and can't quite commit to making more.  Those are easy to lay aside.  And I have a few quilt tops that I finished that I either don't love or marginally like.  Those are left in the stack when it comes time to choose the next quilt to finish.

Moving from one project to another is so much more interesting for blog readers, though.  There's always something new and interesting to see when quilt bloggers move between projects.

Unfortunately for you, my dear readers, I'm staying the course with these star blocks -- at least for now.  It might be agonizing for you readers to see so many variations on the theme of stars on scrappy backgrounds.  Perhaps it will take more endurance for you than for me to finish this quilt.  Thank you for reading!

Thanks to Kathy for hosting Slow Sunday Stitching.

--Nancy.
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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Book List, 2015

This is a belated 2015 post because I'm still catching up from last year.   This is list of book without notes or quotes from any of them.  Many of these reflect my interest in history and family history, in particular.  You'll notice that I included the children's books I read last year, too.  If you want to know more about any of the books, leave a comment and I'll respond either via email (if you're a reply blogger) or in a reply to your comment (if you're a no-reply blogger).

January
  • Counting by 7s.  Holly Goldberg Sloan 
  • Christina Katerina and Fats and the Great Neighborhood War.  Patricia Lee Gauch, Stacey Schuett     
  • Sarah’s Quilt:  A Novel of Sarah Agnes Prine And the Arizona Territories, 1906.  Nancy E. Turner 
  • The Star Garden:  A Novel of Sarah Agnes Prine.  Nancy E. Turner 

 February
  • Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good.  Jan Karon 
  • How to Be A Victorian:  A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Victorian Life.  Ruth Goodman

 March
  • Saving CeeCee Honeycutt.  Beth Hoffman 
  • Vintage.  Susan Gloss 
  • First Frost.  Sarah Addison Allen   
  • Half Broke Horses:  A True-Life Novel.  Jeannette Walls 
  • Lost Lake.  Sarah Addison Allen

 April
  • The Peach Keeper.  Sarah Addison Allen 
  • A Dangerous Place:  A Maisie Dobbs Novel.  Jacqueline Winspear 
  • The Girl Who Chased the Moon.  Sarah Addison Allen 
  • Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler:  A True Love Story Rediscovered.  Trudi Kanter 

May
  • Once We Were Brothers.  Ronald H. Balson    
  • Do Try to Speak As We Do:  The Diary of an American Au Pair.  Marjorie Leet Ford    
  • The Life We Bury.  Allen Eskens    
  • Daily Rituals:  How Artists Work.  Mason Currey  (unfinished) 

June
  • Empty Mansions:  The Mysterious Life of Hugette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune.  Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr. 
  • For Elise:  A Regency Romance.  Sarah M. Eden    
  • Darcy’s Passions:  Pride and Prejudice Retold Through His Eyes.  Regina Jeffers    
  • The Grandfathers.  Conrad Richter
  • The Nightingale.  Kristin Hannah 
  • The Schoolmaster’s Daughter: A Novel of the American Revolution.  John Smolens   

 July
  • Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper.  Nicholson Baker 
  • Annie Dunne.  Sebastian Barry
  • Water from my Heart.  Charles Martin    
  • Sew Organized for the Busy Girl:  Tips to Make the Most of Your Time & Space.  Heidi Staples    

August
  • The Boston Girl.  Anita Diamant 
  • The Sugar Queen.  Sarah Addison Allen   
  • Don’t Sing at the Table:  Life Lessons from My Grandmothers.  Adriana Trigiani 
  • The Distant Hours.  Kate Morton

September
  • The Secret Life of Bees.  Sue Monk Kidd 
  • The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate.  Jacqueline Kelly 
  • In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer.  Irene Gut Opdyke with Jennifer Armstrong 

October
  • Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife.  Eben Alexander, M.D. 
  • Fancy Nancy:  My Family History.  Jane O’Conner 
  • Seven Brave Women.  Betsy Hearne 
  • Aunt Flossie’s Hats (and Crab Cakes Later).  Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howar 
  • The Granddaughter Necklace.  Sharon Denis Wyeth    
  • Homeplace.  Anne Shelby    
  • The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale. . . .  Jeanne Birdsall

November
  • The Persian Pickle Club.  Sandra Dallas 
  • A Sudden Light.  Garth Stein  
  • The Goodbye Quilt.  Susan Wiggs

In December I was reading Better Than Before:  Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin, but I didn't finish it till a few weeks ago so it's on my list for this month.

Some of these books I forgot almost as soon as I read them.  Others are still with me as fabulous books that I would reread and recommend to others.  I've been keeping a list of books I read for a few years now.  As I read, when I come to a quote or thought I especially like, I make a note on the post-it on the back of my bookmark, then type the quote when I add the book to my book list.  I also make notes about the story line, characters, and what I like/didn't like about the book.

If you're a reader, I hope you're reading something great right now.

--Nancy.
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Friday, January 29, 2016

No Peacocks but One Squirrely Fabric

appliqued stars with circles on scrappy backgrounds

I devoted several hours today to playing with circles on stars.  I was trying to avoid peacocks -- stars that are too bright or showy or draw attention to themselves above any other block.  Some blocks have more contrast but I don't think I have any "show-offs."  Do you see any?  (Because I'm not using Lighbox, you can click on any of the images to enlarge them in a new tab to see more detail, then click again to enlarge again.) 

Every star is a different color but I notice that red seems to want to dominate as the layers are added.  I've begun to sew circles but I know I'll keep looking and evaluating as I sew and change as I go along.  That's a wonderful thing about applique.

There 36 blocks.  The challenge is deciding whether to set them 5 by 7 blocks,  6 by 6 blocks, or whether to make more stars so I can set them 6 by 7 blocks.  Using 2" sashing and a 4" border all the way around, the 5 by 7 set will finish at about 71" x 94".  Set 6 by 6 it will finish at about 82" square.  I'm not hugely in favor of square quilts but 94" (with blocks set 5 by 7) seems on the long side for a twin quilt.  On the other hand, a 6 by 7 block setting will finish at about 82" x 94", about queen size.  Hmmm.  (Yes, one other option is to set them 5 x 6 blocks and have it finish at about 62" x 82".) 

This is the squirrely fabric.  What color would you say it is?
appliqued star on scrappy backgrounds
I think it looks green until it sits near true green.  It looks a little gold, a little coppery, maybe even a little like army green, but no one color exactly.  I like the challenge of unusual colors but this one just doesn't seem to want to work or play with any of the colors.

At the end of today I had these arrangements.
appliqued star with circles on scrappy backgrounds

I suspect this one will get changed tomorrow.
appliqued star with circles on scrappy backgrounds

Of course, none of the circles are sewn yet.  I'm sure some will get rearranged tomorrow.

These circles in stars make me think of wool penny rugs.

I'm linking this post to Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework.  Thanks, Cynthia!

Happy quilting to you!

--Nancy.
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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Friends, Followers, and Google Friend Connect

Google is making some changes to blogger again.  This time they're discontinuing Google Friend Connect for those who do not have Google accounts.  I didn't think this would effect me too much but I've noticed that I have fewer friends now than a few weeks ago.  So if you'd like to be my friend and follower through Google Friend Connect, you'll need to create a Google account, come to my blog, and click to become a friend.  If you don't, I know I will miss you!

Many people follow blogs with a reader these days.  Some of the popular ones are bloglovin', feedly, and The Old Reader.  And I know others receive emails every time a new post is published.

I usually read blog posts with feedly and sometimes with bloglovin' but I jump over to blogs to leave comments.  I love Google Friend Connect and seeing the friendly faces and fun little images of followers in my sidebar and your sidebars when I visit your blogs.  I hope you'll choose to continue to follow joy for grace or, if you're new, choose to begin following it with your Google account.

If you have a blogger blog and want to learn more you can read the post about Google Friend Connect changes here.

As always, thanks for visiting!

--Nancy.
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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Since It's National Chocolate Cake Day . . .


. . . I thought I'd share a recipe that's been a favorite in our family for more than two decades.  It's a never-fail recipe for a moist cake.  We always bake as cupcakes but the recipe works in an 8" square pan, too.

Double Chocolate Snack Cake

In a mixing bowl combine:
  1 2/3 c. flour
  1 c. light brown sugar, packed
  1/4 c. cocoa
  1 tsp. baking soda
  1/4 tsp. salt

Add and beat till smooth:
  1 c. water
  1/3 c. oil
  1 tsp. vinegar
  3/4 tsp. vanilla

Pour into an 8" square greased and floured pan or spoon into twelve paper-lined cupcake molds.

On top sprinkle:
  1/2 c. chocolate chips

Bake cake for 30 minutes, cupcakes for 20 minutes.  Test with toothpick for doneness being sure to miss the chocolate chips.

Cool on wire rack (or eat warm if you don't want to wait that long).

Yum!  No, double yum!

I hope you enjoy a slice of chocolate cake on National Chocolate Cake Day.

--Nancy.
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Monday, January 25, 2016

The Sun! And Stars

The joyful news today is that the sun made a bright appearance (for a change)!  The big storm that hit the eastern states bypassed our area.  But even so, sunny winter days are rare in Central Ohio.  It was beautiful.  And energizing. 

I spent part of today cutting scrappy pieced backs from behind my appliqued stars so I can add the next layers.

Now I have a stack of scrappy stars.  Six more will be added when I finish cutting the last blocks.

My only stitching was reinforcing the seams where the back had been cut away.  After all the time spent appliqueing I didn't want to risk the seams coming apart.  Is that what people usually do if the background of an applique block is pieced?  (This is my first time using backgrounds with seams.)  I guess I also added extra applique stitches where I noticed the need (because now I'm carefully looking at and evaluating the backs).

I've also been cutting center circles so I'll be ready to play with color placement when the stars go back on the "design floor."  I'll post photos another day.

I'm linking this post to Moving It Forward Monday at Em's Scrapbag.

I hope you're having / had a great sewing and quilting day!

--Nancy.
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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Green Star, Scrappy Background

I'm stitching a tiny little repair on some underwear today that won't take but a minute or two.  And I'm stitching the last few stars (I think) onto scrappy backgrounds.  (Did I mention that I love these stars and that I love stitching them?)
This green one is partially done.  I hope to finish it today.  The light one, below left, is finished and the other two are next in line to be stitched.

I've never made a quilt like this before and while I'm having fun playing with the circles I'm not sure how to resolve the color placement of the circles.  I go back and forth between choosing the circles based on the interaction of stars and colors of the whole quilt and/or based on their interaction in each individual block.  


Before I began I chose colors for the stars and circles and I felt like they were compatible and looked good together.  I've added a few fabrics (another blue, two reds, an orange), removed a few others (too much gold), and I still think they all work well together.  However, that doesn't mean that any two fabrics touching will look fabulous side-by-side.  So I continue to stitch and play.  (Can you love quilt blocks too much?)

Have you made quilts with multiple layers in multiple colors?  How did you choose the colors of the layers?  Did you choose before you ever cut or stitched?  Did you choose intuitively as the work progressed?  Or after the first layer was stitched on all the blocks?  Were you concerned about the interplay of colors across the whole quilt, or within one block, or both?

I'm linking this post to
 Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts and
 Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
Thanks for hosting, ladies.

I hope you're having a calm, peaceful, rejuvenating Sunday.

--Nancy.
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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Recently Discovered

While looking around the internet this week I found a few links that I wanted to remember and thought you might enjoy, too.

On Vintage sewing machines.  

A new documentary was recently published.  It's called "Still Stitching" and it looks like it will be interesting.

At the movie's website you can watch a short video about others' stories about their vintage machines and their memories of others using vintage machines.  I especially like the man who remembered his mom sewing on her "old black Singer."  How many of us remember our moms sewing on those machines?  How many of us still use them?  I still have my mom's old black Singer, my machine of choice.

Here's the preview.



On Serendipity.
What do you think?  Is serendipity something that just happens?  Or do we help serendipity along?  Read How to Cultivate the Art of Serendipity in the New York Times.  Maybe it will change your perspective on this phenomenon.


On Hand-Knits.
Another movie.  Or, better said, sweaters and socks, shawls, mufflers, and gloves, in a movie.  All knitted and crocheted from 1910s patterns, created by a bevy of knitters and crocheters to make the movie, "Tell Them of Us," authentic.  (I haven't seen the movie but it looks sad.)


The women who created the clothing of wool and cotton decided to make a book with the patterns:  Centenary Stitches:  Telling the story of one WWI family through vintage knitting and crochet.  I'm no fashionista but many of the sweaters, hats, scarves, and shawls look like they could jump from 1916 to 2016 quit comfortably.

Go to the Centenary Stitches WWI Commemorative Knitting Project blog where you can see photos of the knit and crocheted clothing; watch film trailers and an interview with the knitters; and learn more about the Centenary Stitches Exhibition at the National Archives, Kew.  Best of all, if you can knit and crochet, there's a book of patterns:  Centenary Stitches:  Telling the story of one WWI family through vintage knitting and crochet.  If only I could knit.... 

I hope you're having a great weekend.

--Nancy.
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Friday, January 15, 2016

Little Four-Patch, Finished!

My first finish of 2016, and completed in about a week!  For slow-poke me it's amazing (even though it is a small quilt).  It was begun and finished so quickly that it didn't even get a page in my note book.

Little Four-Patch is truly a little one at just about 16" x 22".  I thought a doll quilt was in order to go with the doll I made my granddaughter for Christmas.


The small squares were cut at 1 1/2" and the alternate squares at 2 1/2".   I used a diagonal set and added half-square triangles around the edges. 

I was going to layer it with flannel but didn't have a large enough piece of white or natural.  Instead I used a leftover piece of Cream Rose 100% cotton batting.  I was concerned it might be too thick and that the quilt would be stiff but it seemed to be soft and cuddly when it came out of the dryer.  I think it will get softer with use.

Hand quilting such a small quilt was strange.  It was barely big enough to fit into my hoop and when I came to the edges I didn't use the hoop at all.  It's not heavily quilted but there's enough to keep the layers together and hold the batting in place.  I suspect I'll see the quilt often enough that I can either add quilting or repair the quilting if necessary.

I rounded the corners to avoid harsh corners on such a small quilt and used a single-fold binding which I pieced so the binding around the corners was on the bias and the straight sides were cut on the straight grain.  It all seemed to work well for this quilt.

Word has it that my granddaughter wrapped "Baby" in it right away.

I'm linking this post to
 WIPs Be Gone at A Quilting Reader's Garden
 Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts
 Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
 Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday at Faith and Fabric

And I'm also linking this post to the January One Monthly Goal (OMG) Finished Party at Red Letter Quilts.

Click over to some of the other link-up posts to have a look at what others have been up to.

Happy Friday!

Nancy.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Playing and My Mind's Eye

Is anyone tired of seeing photos of this quilt?  It's really captured my attention, so much so that I don't want to work on anything else.


I'm having lots of fun cutting and layering circles on the stars.  Once circle, two circles, or three circles?  A large circle that fills the center of the star or a smaller circle?  Which colors/fabrics to layer together?  Which colors to omit, which ones to add?  The gold/yellow/orange tones seemed to be taking over so I removed some of the circles, but maybe they would be perfect behind another circle.  Just more play coming my way.


I have several more scrappy backgrounds to make and stars to cut and stitch.  Of course, it may be that not every one of them will appear in the finished quilt.

Do you ever see things in your mind's eye?  I do, but I think my mind's eye needs corrective lenses.  I imagine a quilt, go to work on it, and then realize that I really didn't see the finished quilt as clearly as I thought.  I suppose that's not uncommon or quilters wouldn't have design walls (or floors), would they?  Of course, if I really saw the finished quilt I'd bypass the play part of quilting and miss the fun!

I'm linking this post to
  WOW at Esther's Blog,
  WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced,
  Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, and
  Let's Bee Social #107 at Sew Fresh Quilts.
Thanks for hosting the link-ups, ladies.

Wishing you joy this cold (Ohio) winter day.

--Nancy.
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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Scraps Beget Scraps


Before appliqueing the circle onto the center of this star I cut out the back just inside the stitching.  Look what I ended up with:   more scraps!

Scraps beget scraps.  I guess these are second or third generation scraps.  When I sew these into more scrappy backgrounds and cut behind the stars, they will become more scraps -- third or fourth generation.  Maybe scraps never died.

I'm linking this post to Scraptastic Tuesday at Mrs Sew and Sow.  Thank you, Nicky.

Happy stitching, napping, sewing, quilting, whatever you're doing!

--Nancy.
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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Star #32 and First Circle

This is one of four more stars to applique, now with two points stitched after watching "Downton Abbey" tonight.
Applique Star on Scrappy Background

Even though the stars are not "scrap" stars but are cut from whole pieces of fabric, some purchased specifically for the purpose, I like the scrappy, imperfect appearance of them.  I keep trying for more curved points but am only partially successful.

The plan was always to add several layers of circles.  I cut a few circles and placed them on the stars but before choosing fabrics and colors, I'll cut more and play.  But I think the one below is staying.  Will I miss seeing a whole star of one color?  Maybe....
Applique Star on Scrappy Background

I'm linking this post to Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts and Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework.  Thanks, ladies.

--Nancy.
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