Saturday, May 27, 2023

A Bibbie, Blogger Changes (Again), and Out and About

Making a Bibbie
For Christmas my granddaughter received an adorable little apron which her mom calls a bibbie.  It covers her front, meets at center back, and ties at the neck.   It is made of two layers of fabric quilted with thin batting between.  Before we visited a few weeks ago my daughter ask if I might be able to make another one, so I took along some large paper and traced a pattern.  It's a simple pattern but I'd never machine quilted and wasn't sure how it would go on my mom's old black 201 Singer. 

This week I spent several days making another, just as a trial to see if I could.  The fabric for both sides came from thrift clothing:  a woman's blouse, a skirt, and the back of a shirt for the binding.  Before layering and sewing I marked diagonal quilting lines at 1½" with a grey Crayola washable marker.  After layering I pinned the heck out of the layers, just to be sure there was no shifting.  And it worked just fine.  There were no puckers in the fabric.  Surprise!
It took hours and hours and I can see why the company who made her first bibbie went out of business.  There couldn't have been much profit when they sold them for $35.00!

The back is a plaid with similar colors to the fabric on the front.  I would have used a darker fabric had I had enough of one that worked with the colors on the front.
This is the finished bibbie.  My daughter liked it and Sophia was happy to wear it.  Somehow, it's not nearly as sweet as the little blue one which, I think, makes her look like she walked about of the 1940s.  If I make another, I'll buy fabric for it instead of using what I have on hand.
We drove down to my daughter's on Thursday, stayed overnight, then came home yesterday.  It was great to spend time with both our daughters, our grandchildren, and our son-in-law.  I don't have much energy today but I'm working on the bow tie quilt (which I'll post when it's done).

More Blogger Challenges
I do wish Blogger would leave well enough alone.  I've been getting emails from Google Analytics for several months telling me that Universal Analytics will be going away in July and Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will become the default data collection tool.  I'd been putting off checking into it because, well, who wants more changes, but finally decided to check into it a week or so ago.  They suggest it's an easy change to set up but then they are tech savvy and I'm not.  They'd included the beginning of changes for this blog but not for my others.  And even their set-up wizard was not especially helpful.  What it seems to come down to is making a coding change.behind the scenes where all the coding for your whole blog is.  To a non-tech person like me it's scary stuff and just thinking about it makes me nervous.  What are you doing about this change to GA4?  (It's not that I love numbers per se, but I do like to see how many people have visited my blog, whether it's 12, 180, or however many.)

Out and About

We drove up to Malabar Farm a few weeks ago and toured the Big House. We had an excellent tour guide who casually added of anecdotes and behind-the-scenes information about Louis Bromfield and his family.  Below is about half the house and below that, the barn and other farm buildings.
The property is owned by Ohio's Department of Natural Resources which keeps the buildings and grounds in beautiful condition.  I loved the columbines!

There should be more to this post but my memory fails me just now....

I hope you have a great Memorial Day weekend, remembering those who gave their lives to help the United States of America keep the freedoms we have.


Thursday, May 18, 2023

The Quilt Top That's Staying--For Now

In my mind, I had two quilt tops that I was ready to send off to MCC.  I finally pulled both of them out last week.  There is a Double Irish Chain (which I'll post later) and this one.
Churn dash quilt
I made this quilt ages ago, before I began blogging, I think.  This is a Bonnie Hunter pattern, maybe called Little Monkeys.  It was fun to make the little 5" blocks using scraps of so many fabrics and colors.  I think her pattern was for a baby quilt but there was no baby around for this quilt, so I made more blocks and decided alternate hourglass blocks would make a top big enough for a bed. 

When I finished it I folded it away and moved on with other quilts in other styles.  My memory told me I didn't really like this quilt at all, which was why I thought I would be donating it this year.  (In my mind I think I thought hourglass blocks were a cheater's way to enlarge a quilt.  I don't think that any longer, after I've seen and loved so many quilts with alternate hourglass blocks posted by other bloggers.  Now I see that they enhance blocks and give them space to shine.)  When I pulled this top out last week, I fell in love with it.  I love those bright little churn dash blocks that look happy, fun, and almost whimsical.  So this top will be staying with me for now.

Here are a few (maybe a few too many!) photos of some of the blocks.  churn dash quilt block churn dash quilt block churn dash quilt block churn dash quilt block churn dash quilt block churn dash quilt block churn dash quilt block churn dash quilt block churn dash quilt block churn dash quilt block churn dash quilt block churn dash quilt block churn dash quilt block churn dash quilt block churn dash quilt block churn dash quilt block
churn dash quilt block
churn dash quilt block churn dash quilt block churn dash quilt block churn dash quilt block
Have you ever laid aside a quilt you weren't sure you liked, only to pull it out and find that your opinion of it has changed and you love it?

I best go make the other 20 or so blocks I need for the bow tie quilt top that I will be donating to MCC.


Monday, May 15, 2023

Decision Time for BowTies

There's nothing like a photo to show me what my eyes don't see in real life.  In person I see the colors as very similar.  Ha!

Bow tie quilt blocks possible layout
I have 99 of 140 individual bow tie blocks made for this BowTie quilt.  (Not all are pictured here.)  Before I make the rest of the blocks, I need to make some decisions. 

I'm considering a "fake" border around the edge by using three dark squares of fabrics per block.  In the photo above I've just placed some darks along the edge of two sides to give an idea.  Hmmm.  Do you think this would be a good finish for this quilt?  Or better just letting the 12" blocks end at the edge?  Below is how I would make those edge/border blocks.
Another possibility is to include a "circle" or two of green/teal blocks.  From the fabrics below.  Maybe the two colors I'm currently using are boring?  And teal only because it's in this one fabric.  (But I'm all for reds and greens, in all their variations, together.)
Another consideration is whether I should carefully arrange the blocks or place them randomly.  I've placed them now so that no two of the same fabrics touch.  Where the four lights meet, each is different, and where the bow ties meet, each is different.  Perhaps the lights should be in the center, then the mediums, then the darks?   If so, I would need to be sure to have enough of each tone/shade.

And one last consideration is whether I should try to make each "circle" of bow ties in a similar tone/shade or fabric.  A medium circle, a dark circle, etc.

It seems I can just hardly make anything simple and leave it.  There always seem to be other options, considerations, alternatives....

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.  I'm always interested in others' views.

I'm linking this post to
> Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
> Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
> Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Thanks for hosting, ladies.


Friday, May 5, 2023

A Major Miscalculation

I made four sample BowTie blocks, just to see if I wanted to make more, and decided I do.  (These four are not yet sewn together.)
BowTie quilt block
Four bowties will become a 12" block.  I decided 5 blocks x 7 blocks would be a good size and calculated that I would need to cut and sew 35 blocks:  2 background squares at 3½" and 2 colored squares at 3½" and two colored squares at 2".  Right.  So I cut and cut and cut and had enough for 20 bow ties and thought, I only have 15 more to make.  Amazing!   And then suddenly it dawned on me that I need 35 blocks with four bowties each.  I need 140 bowties!  What a major miscalculation!  I have my work cut out for me, cutting another 120 blocks.  Oh my, I could be cutting for a week.
Above, you can see cut light squares across the top and below, left to right, light and dark squares; matched squares with their corners sewn and pressed; and on the right are pairs of squares pinned for sewing.

These blocks came about because I have an abundance of fabrics, many from shirts, in the red-to-brown range, and plenty of scraps, both dark and light, which I thought would make a warm-looking quilt for winter.  We'll see how it goes.  If I get the top finished I expect to use it for a Hands2Help donation.
On April 29, I finished the quilt below for Hand2Help.  In retrospect, red fabric might have been better for a border, at least from a distance.  When I asked what readers thought in a previous post, Quilting Babcia at Amity Quilter suggested a narrow blue/green border, then a wider red border.  It would have worked well but I struggle with borders and so added only one.
Single Irish Chain quilt
Up close I think the blue/green dotted fabric works. 

Camera Joy!
Any of you who have been reading this blog for a month or so may remember that my little Canon PowerShot A560 was not working properly.  It took photos but they were not as clear as they had been, and the macro photos were practically indecipherable.  I took it to a camera repair shop and found no help.  I contacted several other camera/photo shops in the area who said they would look at it but probably couldn't help.  And I finally contacted Canon, whose representative said that they'd discontinued service for my camera so there was no help.  Several people offered suggestions but the most helpful came from Lizzy of Gone to the Beach, who suggested I try a reset.  Hmmm.  I didn't realize I could reset the camera.  I looked online and found easy directions, followed them, and now my camera is back to practically normal.  I don't think it's as good as before it had problems but it's definitely better than it was.  Thank you, Lizzy!

I'm linking this post to
Finished (or not) Friday at Alycia Quilts
Peacock Party Wendy's Quilts and More
Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Oh Scrap! at Quilting is more fun than Housework
Thank you for hosting, ladies.

I'm also linking to Sarah's Hands2Help post at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.  Thanks for coordinating and hosting, Sarah.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 4, 2023

One Monthly Goal: Short Post, Hefty Goal

This is a short post to declare my One Monthly Goal for May. 
My goal is this:  to finish quilting the tall, thin, stocks block.  That in itself wouldn't take much time but since I'm quilting straight lines from the morning glories to the edge of the quilt at the bottom, I know it will take some dedicated time and effort.  By quilting that way, it also means I'll quilt most, if not all, of the three little baskets and at least part of the cactus block to the left of the stocks.

There is something amazing and wonderful when stitches transform two layers of fabric and a layer of batting into one, delicious, inviting quilt.  (And I'm so sorry you regular readers have to keep seeing this quilt pop up every month, and sometimes twice a month.  One of these months it will be finished.)

I'm linking this post to May One Monthly Goal at Elm Street Quilts.  Thanks for hosting, Patty and Anne-Marie.


Saturday, April 29, 2023

This 'n' That--Quilt, Method to Unstitch, Camera Woes

This quilt is on the August page of a 2011 Lang calendar of quilts from Colonial Williamsburg.  My husband thinks it's an awful mess of a quilt.  But me?  I think it's fascinating.
The information about this quilt top tells me it has newspaper backings and was probably made in or near Forth Worth, Texas, between 1913 and 1914.  It measures 68" x 76".
This appears to have been made from clothing fabric in stripes, plaids, and ginghams, along with a few prints and solids, in blacks, greys, browns, tans, white, reds/pinks, and blues.  Using the quilt's measurements and the number of blocks across and down, it seems like the four squares of paper used to create a block were cut at 5½" which, when sewn together, become 10" blocks, for finished blocks of 9½".  (Did I get my math right?)

I still have scraps of black plaids from the two quilt tops I made, plus parts of other plaid shirts.  Maybe it would be fun to try to recreate this quilt, or make a similar one.  Or is it just too crazy?

It's one of those things we always hope we won't have to do but sometimes need to do.  I've tried so many ways of unstitching, trying to find the easiest, and I think I finally have.  This is how I do it.

I fold the fabrics so the seam is closed, then use my seam ripper to cut through every other or every second stitch, being careful not to cut the fabric. (Caution:  If your thread is really fine, your stitches are very small, and/or your fabric is delicate, this method might not work.)
unstitching or ripping out a seam
When I've cut the stitches to the place where I want to restitch, I gently pull apart the two pieces of fabric.   It reminds me of pulling perforated paper out of a notebook.
unstitching or ripping out a seam
On one side there will be bits of thread and on the other there will be an uncut length of thread. Yes, those bits of thread end up on my clothes but it's easy enough to use a small piece of masking tape, or even a bit of cotton batting, to pick them up.
unstitching or ripping out a seam
What's your favorite way to unstitch?  Please share.

Camera Woes
It seems my Canon PowerShot A560 is out of commission for me.  Canon has discontinued support of that model.  If they hadn't, I could have had a factory reset which, no doubt, would have given me back the camera's ability to focus.  I bought it in about 2007 so I guess it's had a good run, longer than expected for a digital camera.  I'm so sad to lose it.  My phone cameras (an old Samsung used just for photos, and an LG, used as a phone and everything else cameras do) don't focus as clearly, do not take flash photos, and don't take a photo quickly enough to be clear when I don't hold the phone completely still.  The LG does take good close-ups/macros if I'm in good light.

So now I'm on the hunt for a good but less expensive digital camera.  What kind of camera do you use for blog photos?  Make, model, and year/age, please, if you can.  Do you love your camera?  Would you buy it again?

I think that's it for this post.  More another time.  I hope you have a good weekend.


Friday, April 28, 2023

April's One Montly Goal Finish

My One Monthly Goal for April was to make specific progress on my version of Linda Brannock's Flowers quilt:  outline the tulips, leaves, and vase; finish the diagonal quilting on that block; and quilt diagonal lines in the border and sashing until I reached the morning glories.  (Just to say, I find straight line quilting oh so boring.)
tulips block in Linda Brannock's Flowers quilt

I think you can see the quilting in the photos above and below. 

In the photo below, it's hard to tell, but the last diagonal quilting line on the left reaches the bottom of the morning glories block.
tulips and morning glories blocks in Linda Brannock's Flowers quilt

I still have about a third of the quilt to hand quilt--the three blocks on the lower left and the block on the lower right, plus sashing and borders.  I usually start quilting in the center and work outward but with these diagonal lines, it was a little challenging to do that, hence the lower unquilted blocks. 
Linda Brannock's Flowers quilt

I'm guessing I'll be quilting this for another few months.  I'm looking forward to finishing it.

I'm linking this post to April One Monthly Goal Finish at Elm Street Quilts.  Thank you for hosting, Patty and Anne-Marie.


P.S. It seems that sometimes Blogger is not forwarding comments to my email.  If I have your email address, I'll send my response directly to you but if I don't have your email address, I'll respond to your comment here on the blog.  Thanks for your comments.  I so appreciate them!

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Links to Enjoy #8

Here are a few links I've collected over the past several weeks, ones that impressed me as odd, unusual, beautiful, or interesting.  I hope you find one or two to enjoy.

A village of charming little houses, photographed by Domagoj Burilović, are now deserted and being taken over by nature.  They were built in the 19th century in the Croatian region of Slavonia.  They are similar but so individual.  I could get behind making a house quilt based on these houses.  More here and here.

Fraktur art = primitive art?  I love those little suns at the bottom.  Read more here.

The sun and these photos of it amaze me.  I cannot imagine its size, or heat, or how its light travels, considering the distance and speed:  it doesn't seem like it would travel fast enough to reach us each morning, and yet we have sunrise and sunset.  I wonder what proportion the photos are to real life. 

I loved this video about American painter John Singer Sargent and how he painted.

There's always something new to see or learn in the natural world, like the undersides of mushrooms.

It was interesting to learn that I may have inherited my fear (or maybe it's just a strong discomfort) of heights from my mom.  At least this article suggests that possibility as well as about inheriting other non-physical traits.

I hope you found something to enjoy.


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