Sunday, January 21, 2018


After working on the tan quilt with blue stars -- wonderfully calm and serene, possibly even dull -- I'm ready for sewing with brights again. 

I cut out several small hearts and chose light backgrounds.  I'll stitch one or more of these today if I can manage time to stitch.

Light and bright inside is just what I need with today's greyest of days.  (Of course, these photos were taken with a flash.  What can you do when the midday light outside looks like dusk?)

Kathy asked us to post a photo of our hoop -- whatever kind we use.  This is my 14" wooden hoop, the only one I've ever used for quilting.  It's so comfortable and it's edges worn smooth.  When I broke it a few years ago I could bear the thought of breaking a new one so I fixed it.  Drill, string, a piece of another hoop, some adhesive tape, and it's as good as new (and probably stronger, too).

Happy Sabbath to you.

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


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Symmetry or Size?

The only sewing I've done on this quilt to date is sewing the star points onto the sashing.  I rarely cut all the blocks for a quilt at the same time but this quilt seemed to need it.

Whenever I make a quilt I often have this running discussion with myself about symmetry and size.  Do you want the pattern to be symmetrical or is the size of the quilt more important? 

The way this quilt is laid out, above, it is not symmetrical.  The first row of three stars shifts left, the second row shifts right, the third row, left, etc.  I have to decide whether I can live with the out-of-balance arrangement because the size, 69½" x 84½" (before quilting, washing, and drying), will be better:  a decent size for a twin bed or a nap.

Or is the symmetry more important?  Three stars in the first row, two in the second, three in the third, etc.  If so, I would remove the right and bottom rows and have a quilt top that measures 60" x 74" (before quilting, washing, and drying).  Not quite bed size and definitely not long enough for tall people who want to tuck the quilt under their feet for a good nap.  (Doesn't everyone tuck a quilt under and around their feet?)

To add to the decision about size, there's the consideration of how much shrinkage there will be after a quilt's been washed and dried.  In some quilts I've lost 6" in both directions!  That's a lot to lose.

Sizes of quilts has been of ongoing interest to me.  From several quilting books (both modern and vintage quilts) and my own quilts, I noted size ranges of finished quilts. 

chart of quilt size ranges collected from several quilting books

I often look at these sizes when deciding how big to make a quilt.  I find it hard to tell when unstitched pieces are laying on the floor. 

I tell myself that when a quilt is on a bed, or wrapped around a person, or folded on a shelf, no one notices whether it's symmetrical.  It's only when a quilt is hung for show or photographed on a floor that we notice whether the pattern of a quilt is symmetrical.  I think this quilt stays as it is.  (Unless I decide it should be larger.)

What do you do?  If you can't have both, do you choose symmetry or size?

I'm linking this post to
> WOW at Esther's Blog
> Let's Bee Social #212 at Sew Fresh Quilts
> Midweek Makers 107 at Quilt Fabrication
Thanks for hosting, ladies.


Friday, January 12, 2018

Nothing to Do

January came and I had nothing to do.
-- no basted and layered quilt to put in a hoop
-- no applique blocks ready to stitch
-- no pieced blocks cut for me to sew
-- no particular idea of the next quilt to begin
And too tired to make any big decisions.

Well, I had a small stack of blue scraps leftover from my Gwenny medallion.  Blue is one of my less-favorite colors but I do like this range of blues.  I don't know if they're soldier blues, Prussian blues, peacock blues, or go by another name, but they have just the least touch of green in the dye and I like them.

And I had a stack of what I thought were medium browns, the ones in the photo below plus a few others, mostly cut from shirts.  Perhaps my creative energies were mirroring the grey Ohio winter days (which I truly love -- so restful). 

I decided to put them together and see what would happen.  I often second guess myself about cutting into fabric.  What if I later realize I would like it for some other quilt?  But I made a quick decision to cut 8" squares and 2½" sashing and went to work with my rotary cutter.

This is what I've come up with so far.  Only the star points are sewn to the sashing. 

I chose uneven stars and I chose to set them on opposite corners of the squares rather than using a "Morning Star" setting where every corner has a star.  A star in every corner, especially with these uneven stars, can become crowded.

Some may think this a boring quilt.  I think my daughter used the words "calm" and "serene" to describe it.  It looks restful to me.  It may not become the most beautiful or exciting quilt I've ever made but I think it will be satisfactory.

Sometimes I get tired of jumbles of bright colors.  Sometimes my eyes want a rest, want to see the rhythm of two colors and a pattern repeated across a surface.  And I wanted to see if I could make a simple yet appealing quilt from these tans/browns and blues.  I think these colors and this layout work, but I may have another opinion by the time I finish the top.  I have more cutting and sewing to do to make it bigger.

In the meantime I'm trying out ideas for another applique quilt, considering how to make my Baskets of Plenty blocks play nicely to become a finished top, and searching for backing fabric for my Gwenny quilt.  Finding/choosing backing fabric or sewing pieces together to make a backing is often a challenge, particularly so for this quilt because I'm looking for "that blue" -- the range in the above quilt -- which is not currently a popular color, or some fabric that will agree with the front of the quilt.  And I don't have enough of any fabrics to sew together to make a back.  Sigh.  Until I can get backing for any quilt I don't have hand quilting to do, and this is the perfect time to hand quilt -- you know, cold weather, staying inside more than usual, etc.

But still, now I do have something to do!

I'm linking this post to
> Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts
> Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
> ScrapHappy January at talltalesfromchiconia
> Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
> Moving It Forward Monday at Em's Scrapbag
> Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt 
Thanks for hosting, ladies.


Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 In Review

My consolation in having so few completely finished quilts this year is that quilting was not the only interest and emphasis for me.  Maybe I'll make more quilts this year, or maybe not....  So, this is a review of my 2017 applique and quilting efforts.

Completely Finished Quilts  (only four)
A Blue Plaid Linen Shirt was the backing for this little patriotic quilt.
Small primitive flag quilt from a pattern by Cheri Payne

The green/blue Buckeye Beauty was The Ugliest Quilt of the year.  But it's done!
Buckeye Beauty quilt

My favorite quilt of 2017 was this really scrappy one, made of leftovers from another quilt.

A dozen blocks (also leftovers over from another, larger quilt) became one small quilt - large enough to cover legs, small enough to wrap a baby or toddler.

Interim Finishes (as in, finished blocks, finished tops, etc.)

I devoted time to choosing fabrics, pattern pieces, and appliqueing these Cheri Payne Baskets of Plenty sew-along blocks which are currently awaiting a decision on layout, sashing, and borders.  (Poor, late-night phone photo.  Don't bother to enlarge.)

My Gwenny-inspired Medallion quilt top received its final border with appliqued vines and stars.  It has yet to be layered and quilted.

This very red/pink Buckeye Beauty is finished to the top stage.  This is a sister to the ugliest quilt, above.  I like this one much better.
red scrappy Buckeye Beauty quilt

Most Viewed Posts in reverse order, least viewed to most viewed
> A Finish, Compared to...
> Baskets of Plenty #7:  Cheeky Bird
> Baskets of Plenty Block 2, Choosing for Block 3
> The Ugliest Quilt
> First Basket of Plenty, Finished

Posts with Most Comments in reverse order, least comments to most comments
> Albino Crow, Strong West Wind tied with When Does a Project Become a UFO?
> Back to Scrap Squares
> Wrestling
> The Ugliest Quilt
> A Scrappy Finish

Truly, this was a little year on the quilting front.  Three of the complete finishes had been in progress for a while and only one was new, so I was pleased to have finished three UFOs.  In 2018 I hope to quilt several tops that have been waiting and start and finish several quilts at least to the flimsy stage.

I'm linking this post to Cheryl's Best of 2017 Linky Party at Meadow Mist Designs.  Click through to see other quilters' best of in 2017.  Thanks for hosting, Cheryl.

I wish you all the best to you in 2018!


To Wish You a Happy New Year

          Throughout the year from day to day
         May joy be with you all the way.

         Happy New Year.


Sunday, December 31, 2017

On the Quilting Front in 2018

When it comes to creative endeavors I usually don't set specific goals, deadlines, or plan too much.  My creativity decreases the more pressured I feel, and deadlines definitely make me feel pressured. But I do make to-do lists, or hope-to-do-lists.  This year's list looks like this:

--> Make three quilt tops to the finished stage.  I have a few ideas shifting around in my mind and come Monday or Tuesday, I'll begin playing.  No commitment to size.

--> Layer and quilt at least three tops this year.   I have perhaps six that are awaiting backs and quilting.  The sad thing is that if quilt tops lay around here too long, I reconsider how they're put together and may take them apart and redo them.  Especially borders.

--> I'd especially like to get this top quilted (and it's one of the ones that may get a border change).

--> Finish my Baskets of Plenty quilt top, which will include choosing a layout, sashing, any additional applique, etc.

--> I may join Temacula Quilt Company's Scrappy Sew-Along.  Or another sew-along or two during the year (if I think I can finish it this year...).

--> Over the years I've collected lots of patterns from magazines and books plus other images that spark ideas or suggest colors.  They are in stacks and piles and I hope to sort and organize them this year.  I've collected them over the years but added to them recently when I found several dozen old "American Patchwork and Quilting" magazines (from the early 2000s) at our library book sale. 

I'm sure these things won't be the only quilty things I'll do this year, but they're a non-pressure start.

For my review of  2017 post, it's coming in a day or two.

2018 Planning Party

I'm linking this post to JETgirl's 2018 Planning Party. Click the image to visit her blog and find links to others who have joined the planning party.  Thanks for hosting, Yvonne.


Friday, December 29, 2017

One Quilt Plus Four Other Finishes in December

This little quilt made from leftover blocks is the very last finish of the year for me.  I stitched the binding today and it now only awaits a wash and dry. 

It's already dark so the photos are with a flash.  Even if I'd finished it earlier I would have needed a flash because we've had such a grey day.  (Love those grey days.  No kidding!)  And it's snowing now as I get ready to post this. 

The quilt measures just 41½" x 54¼" (before wash and dry) -- a little quilt just big enough for a baby, or maybe the top of a table, maybe big enough to go over one's legs for warmth.  I used leftover Cream Rose batting and Americana thread. 

The quilt looks crooked below but it's the angle of the photo.  (If people are born with photography genes, I didn't get any.)  When I see photos of a finished quilt I notice things I didn't when it was in progress.  Like, maybe I should have arranged those blocks a little differently, or maybe the sashing should have been wider/narrower/another color; etc.  But it's done and I'm happy enough with this little quilt.

My other finishes this month were books and, sadly, not quilts.  They were books.  Four books in a month is a record for me.

This first books was one I noticed on a shelf of Christmas books at the library.  It looked light, simple, and Christmasy.  And it was short:  just what I needed after plowing through American Grit for a month.  Away in a Manger by Rhys Bowen takes place in New York City in the early 1900s.  The heroine, Molly Murphy, discovers several supposed-waifs begging in the street.  It doesn't take her long to realize that they hadn't always needed to beg and determines to learn their situation and story.   This was a cozy mystery, a genre new to me -- or at least the name of the genre is new.  Other authors include Agatha Christie, Daphne du Maurier, Mary Steward, Jacqueline Winspear, and plenty of recent authors who are new to me.  I recommend this book as a fun, fast, light read.

Next I read The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin, also the author of Better Than Before, a book about habits.  She discovered the tendencies while researching how people created habits and discovered that the way people respond to expectations can be grouped into four different categories, sometimes overlapping.  They are upholder, questioner, obliger, and rebel.  You can read a little more about the tendencies here.  I found this book really  helpful in understanding my "rebel" husband.  She also offers an online quiz to learn your own tendency. 

Then I moved back to fiction and read Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate in less than a week.  This story was inspired by the Tennessee Children's Home Society scandal of the early 1950s.  The story is told in the first person by two individuals:  Avery, a 30-something daughter of a N.C. senator whose father and grandfather had been senators; and May Crandall, a resident in a nursing home.  Avery meets May when she attends a birthday party for a 100-year-old resident.  May greets Avery and walks away with the dragonfly bracelet Avery's grandmother, Judy, had given her.  It happens that Judy is also in a nursing home struggling with memory loss.  When Avery returns for her bracelet, she visits May and becomes aware of a possible connection between May and Judy.  May's story of her childhood was sad and sometimes horrible but the resiliency of the human spirit wins out.  I loved this book. 

Wonder by R. J. Palacio is the last book I finished this year.  It is about a boy who was born with some genetic that caused his face to be malformed.  It was told in the first person by the boy, August; by his sister, Via; Via's boyfriend, Justin; and several of August's classmates.  It’s a story about seeing past appearances; about accepting others and being kind; about bullying....  You may have seen a preview for the movie but based on the preview, I think the book is better.  It was definitely worth my time to read it.

I'm linking this post to
> Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts
> Finish it up Friday at crazy mom quilts
> TGIFF at Kathy's Kwilts and More
> Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
> Show Off Saturday at Sew Can She
Thanks for hosting, ladies.


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Short Days, Early Nights, Christmas, and Quilting

I love this time of year -- late fall and early winter -- when the days grow shorter and the dark of night comes earlier.

After gracing us with fall's bright beauty and dropping it to the ground, I imagine the earth breathing a sigh of relief then settling in for a cozy winter rest.  Following nature's lead, I take it a little slower in the late fall and early winter.  If it weren't for the busyness of getting ready for Christmas, I would slow down even more.  But already the days begin to grow longer and here we are, heading for spring and summer again.  I'll enjoy the next month while it still gets dark early.

Christmas was wonderful with my daughter and her family here -- three little grands ages 5½, nearly 4, and nearly 2.  Busy, busy, busy, and such fun.  The only sadness was that my younger daughter wasn't able to be home.  She works as a nurse and couldn't have both Thanksgiving and Christmas off.  There's an incompleteness when a family member is not home for Christmas.  It's hard to believe that Christmas is really over, though.

The week before Christmas, while my younger daughter was home, we attended Merry Tuba Christmas Columbus.  If you've never been before, I encourage you find a Tuba Christmas in your area and go.  It's such fun to hear Christmas carols played by tubas, with their great, deep blubbery, vibrating "voices."  I wondered what the collective noun for tubas was and found tumult, croak, and rumble, but none of those really quite describes the sound of 15 dozen tubas playing together.  The best way I can describe being in an auditorium with nearly 200 tubas playing "We Three Kings of Orient Are" is being in the belly of a whale.   The sound surrounds you.  You can google Tuba Christmas and watch/hear videos but they just don't do justice to the live sound.

It is also fun to watch tuba players applaud.  Because their hands are holding those heavy instruments they can't really clap.  Instead they lift their tubas up and down, up and down, again and again.  Click on the above photo to see the tubas in the air.  Yes, next year, I encourage you to try to attend Merry Tuba Christmas if you can.

Quilting time took a hit over the holidays but that's okay:  time with family is better than time quilting.  Those who were here left yesterday afternoon.  After taking it easy last evening I was ready to get on with things today.  I cut binding....

... for this quilt, which I worked on during nap times and late evenings and finished hand quilting a few days ago.

I hope to have a Friday finish this week but we'll see if I can hand stitch 120" by then.  If not by Friday, surely I can get it finished by the 31st for one last finish in 2017.

I'm so grateful I didn't have 17 unfinished projects to finish this year.  I would not have met the challenge.  I'm still considering what's in store on the quilting front for 2018.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

I'm linking this post to
> WOW at Esther's Blog
> Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication
> UFO Challenge at Jo's Country Junction

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