Friday, May 7, 2021

One Monthly Goal: Another One Just Like the Other One

Aren't we all just so sick of this quilt?  (And I won't think a thing about it if you don't leave a comment.  How many things can one say about the same quilt month after month after month?!)


I have had to talk myself into setting a goal this month.  It is to hand quilt ten blocks of Autumn Maples.  There are 19 blocks left to quilt so by the end of the month there should be nine or fewer to quilt.

I'm linking this post to One Monthly Goal May Link-up at Elm Street Quilts (and getting in just under the wire to link up).

--Nancy.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

When Feedburner's "FollowByEmail" Widget Goes Away

I've never followed a blog by email.  I think receiving an email for every post from every blog I follow would be overwhelming.  But Feedburner tells me that 1312 readers have subscribed to emails for this blog so some people must like subscribing to blogs that way.  I think most of them must delete the emails without reading just as I might if I followed blogs via email.

This is the notice we Blogspot bloggers received a week or two ago.  Click to enlarge it if you'd like to read all of it.



Basically, it says that the Feedburner email subscription service will be discontinued in July, which means that if you follow this blog via email you'll no longer receive those email updates for each post.  I don't know how (and am not interested in learning how) to send emails to everyone.  But I can recommend a few other ways to follow this and other blogs.
  1. Google Friend Connect (known to some as Followers) and Blogger Reading List might work for you if you have a Blogspot blog.  Many of us have a widget somewhere on our blogs inviting  you to follow.  Mine is to the right and up a little if you're reading this on a desk- or laptop computer.  (I don't know how it looks on a phone.  Sorry.)   Clicking to become a follower/friend will place our blogs in your Blogger Reading List.  You can find that reading list on your Blogger dashboard, left column at the bottom.  You can add any blog to your reading list.
  2. Feedly is my preferred method of following blogs.  It's a free service but you'll need to create an account, then you can add blogs to your list.  I love Feedly because I can click through to a blog and it also lets me read blog posts without going directly to each individual blog.  There are positives and negatives to this.  One negative is that I may not visit a blog unless I want to leave a comment.  One positive, for me, is that I can read many blog posts quickly.  Another positive is that the photos are usually larger in Feedly than on a blog.  And a third positive is that when I click through to the blog post, I can open the comment box, then write my comment without having to scroll up and down the post to look at the photos and read because I can change tabs and look at the post on Feedly.  That may not work for some readers but I like doing it that way.   There are a few bloggers who set their blogs to show only a few lines or the first paragraph of a blog post on Feedly.
  3. Bloglovin' is another way to follow blogs.  It's free, too.  You'll need to create an account and then add blogs to your list.  Bloglovin' shows one photo from a post and if you click on the photo to go to the blog, you usually won't go directly to the blog but to Bloglovin's version of the blog within Bloglovin'.

I know there are other ways to read blogs (RSS feeds, as they're called) but I don't have information about them.  But these two posts, here and here, review several other options for following blogs.  If I learn more I'll edit this post.

What ways do you read blogs?  Do you follow via email, or do you use a reader or something else?

--Nancy.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Introducing Sophia Lillian


This little miss is my granddaughter, Sophia Lillian, who arrived on Sunday, April 25.

Having spent nearly a week with her and her family I can attest to the fact that she is (currently) a diligent sleeper and as sweet as can be.  I love her to bits.

While there I did the usual mom and gramma things to help the family--laundry, meals, baby-tending so mom could sleep, transporting, etc.  It was all good.

Sophia has three older brothers, ages nearly-9, 5, and 2, and an older sister who is 6.  They are positively joyful children, just happy with whatever comes their way, whatever they find to do, and they're creative enough to find plenty to do that's within the bounds of safety.

They live on a 30-acre farm with cows, sheep, 4 pigs (that everyone else in the family thinks are adorable (Can you tell I don't like pigs?)), rabbits, and a variety of birds including chickens, ducks, a goose or two, and some quail.  There is always something to do at their house, either inside or outside--some game to play with them, some book to read, some roaming to do in the pastures, animals to feed, eggs to collect....  The life they take for granted is really very interesting and sometimes even exciting.

I loved nearly every minute of my time there.  I came home exhausted but I woke up the next morning and I realized I live a very boring life.  After time with them, quilting just doesn't compare for fun and excitement.  Ha!  I wish our homes were about three hours closer to each other. 

--Nancy.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

One Monthly Goal Finish for April

My One Monthly Goal for April was to hand quilt 10 of the 39 remaining unquilted blocks in Autumn Maples.  You know how it is when you get to the edges of a quilt:  it seems like it takes longer than the whole center.  It's no different with this one.
Of the 39 blocks that needed to be quilted at the beginning of the month there are now 20 left to quilt, which means I've quilted 19.  Goal met!  I know the month's not over but we're on call to help our daughter when she comes home from the hospital with our new granddaughter.  I'll continue to quilt while I'm home but the quilt will stay at home while we help her and her family. 

You can see the quilting lines a little better in this photo.  It's probably because I'm quilting this autumn quilt in the spring, but I'm having a love/hate relationship with it.  
I'm looking forward to having this done, which tells me I need to get the next quilt ready so I can just keep quilting.  I'm sure I'll have to choose and possibly buy backing for whichever quilt it is and I'll need to get batting, too.

Have you heard that the price of fabric will be going up within the next few months?  I wish it weren't so, but then hasn't nearly everything increased in price?

I'm linking this post to One Monthly Goal April Finish Link-up at Elm Street Quilts.  Thanks for hosting, Patty.

--Nancy.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

A New Start for April ScrapHappy Day

The 15th of the month is ScrapHappy Day, hosted by Kate and Gun.  The idea is this:  nothing but scraps for whatever we're working on.  Find links at the end of this post to visit others using scraps.

I had some small pieces of black and tan plaids left over from these blocks and some blues/greens/teals/aquas left over from this quilt.  At some point I get tired of seeing the stacks and began thinking about using them.  But what to do with them?  How to use them?  What to make?  I had a few ideas but dithered.  Then I realized I have enough scraps (with more in the making) for more than one quilt, especially if they're small, so I just began  These are my ideas.

Square-in-square blocks, 4" finished.  Many, many together.  I thought to make this size because if the plaids are cut smaller they would hardly look like plaids, and because of the sizes of scraps I have.  I love the seeing greens, teals, and blues together, but I'm not sure this would be a great quilt.  Boring, maybe?
Economy blocks.  These may be more interesting but the scraps I have won't go very far in making these blocks.  I haven't sewn any of these yet.  Perhaps a few amongst the square-in-square blocks?
Simple alternating 2" finished blocks.  I think this could be simple or more complex depending on the placement of the colors.  I was thinking about the neutral color/fabric for these blocks.  Which do you see as the neutral?  The blues/greens or the plaids?
I've noticed that when I look at these plaids in person they are definitely black and tan, but when I see photos of them at a distance they blend to greys.

Part of me asks, "Can't you find something more interesting to do with these fabrics than squares?"  One of my holdups is always the question whether the pattern choice I've made is the best use of the fabric I have.  Sometimes I'm sure it is, other times not.  And these plaids are so busy!  Can you imagine these small pieces of fabric (none bigger than about 5" or strips longer and wider than about 2" x 12") creating a different block?

I need to start a new quilt like I need a hole in the head.  I already have too many quilts in progress and not enough time or motivation to finish them quickly.  I've found that I can talk myself out of almost anything (except chocolate) so it's possible that I won't get far with these before deciding against turning them into a quilt.  Maybe they're just scrap play.

Before you go, please go look at the very scrappy baby quilt I just finished.  I love it!

If you're inclined, visit these other scrap-users to see what they're up to. 
KateGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda, Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan, Moira, Sandra, Chris, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera, Nanette, Ann, NancyDawn 2, Noreen, Bear, Carol, Preeti and Edith.

Thanks for visiting.
--Nancy.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Sweetness and Light: A Fine, Fast Finish

I call this a fast finish because from first stitch to last it took 3 months, which is really fast for me.


Just to say, I love this quilt!  I love everything about it--the colors, the fabrics, the quilting, all of it.  It is a quilt I wish I had had to wrap up my own babies when they were little.  I hope my daughter likes it.  (We probably all know the mom and dad have to like the baby's gift or it never gets used.)

None of these photos are particularly wonderful but the first and last photos are probably the most accurate as far as colors, though maybe still just a little too creamy.  Some of the photos were taken with flash and some without.
Above and below show the whole quilt, bound, washed, and dried.  It measures 41" x 49".  It lost 3" in width and 4" in length between top to a washed and dried quilt.
I used Quilters Dream Cotton Select batting.  Quilters on the Facebook Celebrate Hand Quilting page recommended it.  After I purchased and layered the quilt I learned that Quilters Dream comes in different thicknesses.  The batting was thick enough that I was a little concerned the quilt would be more like a mat than a soft, pliable, cuddly quilt, but it's just perfect.

A few close-up photos.
Definitely taken without a flash, below, but you can see the quilting better.  As I was quilting I kept thinking of Xs and Os we use as symbols for hugs and kisses.  There are plenty of both in this quilt, if one wants to think of it that way.  I'm still thinking of this quilt as "Sweetness and Light."
Perhaps sometime I will get the lighting just perfect when taking photos of my quilts.  Even in natural light these photos look "shady."

This is the backing I used.  It is from Michael Miller called Best of Sarah Jane Flannel Dolls Soft.  When I bought it online I guess I wasn't paying attention to the length of the repeat and bought just barely enough to cover the back if I placed the figures upright going across the quilt instead of  the length of the quilt.  Maybe next time I'll avoid a directional fabric for backing.
This was a bear to quilt.  I don't know if it was the thickness of the batting, or the flannel, or all the seams in the top, or a combination of two or all three.  I used regular quilting thread but the stitches are longer than I'd like.  Even so, all three layers are fastened together and I don't think they will come apart except possibly after very hearty use.

I used Prismacolor colored pencils to mark the circles as I did on a previous, similar quilt.  Much of the marking was gone by the time I finished quilting, but not all.  I washed the quilt just once and most of the rest of color is gone.  What's left will wash out when my daughter washes the quilt the next time or two.
Do you keep notes about quilts you make?  I use a Cambridge notebook with quad ruled heavyweight bond paper.  Each quilt gets a page, both front and back if needed.  I like having this information for reference. 
I keep track of sizes, cutting measurements, dates I started and finished parts of the quilt, details about batting, fabrics, thread, binding, etc.   It's very useful to me.

A last look.

I'm linking this post to
> Finished or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts
> Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
> TGIFF at Devoted Quilter
> Peacock Party at Wendy's Quilts and More
> Beauties Pageant at From Bolt to Beauty
> Put Your Foot Down at For the Love of Geese
Thanks for hosting, ladies.

--Nancy.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Spring in Ohio, 2021

I only realized a few years ago that spring arrives from the ground up when I saw flowers in bloom and bushes turned green along the roadside, but the trees were still bare.  It was another few weeks or a month before the tree had leaves.  I love to watch spring unfold.   

Last week my daughter and I went to a county MetroPark where we saw two varieties of daffodils at ground level,


 hellebores, which I understand are late-winter blooming flowers, 


and Glory of the Snow blooming amongst the winter leaf debris.
Low bushes were budding green


but the trees were still bare.



Looking skyward we saw bare branches and just the least hint of red on some of the trees,
 

and more tight red buds on others.



Three days later, on April 1, we drove about two hours north to the Canton area.  By late afternoon the clouds had grown heavy and suddenly, this.
Great, huge, wet flakes fell, thick and heavy.  As beautiful as it was and as much as I would have welcomed and loved this in December, January, or February, I'm not interested in going back to winter now.  I decided it was Mother Nature's idea of an April Fool joke. 
It was a snowy drive part of the way home but the snow didn't stick and the roads were not slippery.

Five days later we drove south about an hour and a half and were greeted with lush green.  This is a 60-mph-photo, taken from the car window as we rode along.


It seems like Central Ohio is having an early spring.  Some years the daffodils don't bloom until mid-April.  We have violets in bloom now, the little tulip plant is close behind, with the iris in line to bloom near the end of the month or in early May.  Some years the iris don't bloom till June.  With an early spring, it leaves me wondering what to expect of summer.

If you're in the Northern Hemisphere, I hope you're enjoying spring, whatever that looks like for your area.  If you're in the Southern Hemisphere, you're probably enjoying autumn -- may favorite season.  I would join you if I could.

--Nancy.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

April's One Monthly Goal: Autumn Maples

This quilt is wildly out of season and I'd rather be quilting one in spring-like colors just now but I'm going to pick up where I left off before I began the baby quilt at the beginning of February.
At the beginning of April there were 39 blocks yet to be quilted.  My One Monthly Goal for April is to hand quilt 10 of them.

--Nancy.

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