Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Making Autumn Color

Ohio's autumn colors are usually spectacular, but not this year.  We think it's the lack of  rain that has prevented most of the leaves from turning colors.  Since the trees aren't providing the color I love, I made these.  (Please ignore the light rectangles, the tape that's holding them to the wall.)

maple leaf quilt blocks
I'd thought about making leaves for a week or so but didn't have a vision of how they would look -- light background, dark background; solid fabrics/plaids/prints; one size, two sizes, three; sashing/no sashing; etc.  Cutting and sewing them was pretty much a spur-of-the-moment decision.  I now have a dozen 9" leaves with eight more in progress. 

I love these leaves all together.  I love that their bright colors almost glow against the darker/neutral backgrounds.  (They're maybe just a tad brighter than in real life because of the camera flash.)  They're not in any order or particular arrangement other than that the stems don't meet.  They're just taped in random order.

If you have beautiful autumn colors where you are I hope you'll enjoy them for me, too!

I'm linking this post to
> Wednesday Wait Loss 141 at The Inquiring Quilter
> Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication
> Friday Night Sew-In at Sugarlane Designs
> Peacock Party at Wendy's Quilts and More
> Finished or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts
Thanks for hosting, ladies.

--Nancy.
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Monday, October 7, 2019

One Monthly Goal for October

For Cheddarback this month we only have two 12" blocks to make.  The first is pieced with three five different fabrics (and looks oh-so-similar to one I made a month or two ago).  The other is three flowers created from diamonds and triangles, plus stems, and a basket.  It looks challenging to me.  You can see the original blocks here.  I'm looking through my fabrics, trying to find and decide which to use.

possible fabrics for Cheddarback Blocks 34 and 35

My One Monthly Goal for October is to sew the above blocks and to cut sashing and cornerstones for the seven quartets of small blocks, below, and sew them into seven 12" blocks.

Cheddarback small blocks for first 7 months

I think this is a doable goal -- as long as I can quickly choose fabric for the cornerstones!

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

--Nancy.
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Saturday, October 5, 2019

Considering Quarter Cabin Options

I love this statement I read about improv quilting on one of Cheryl Arkison's recent blog posts.  She said,
Part of improvisation is the ability to accept that you are starting without knowing where you will end up.

I don't think of myself as an improv quilter but I've definitely got that aspect of the process covered.  So often I have a block, or a feeling, or scraps in mind and begin without a specific plan.  I make a bunch of blocks, see how they look together, and go from there.

This is just what I'm doing with these little 4" (finished) quarter cabin blocks that I started on a whim over two years ago.  I had lots of random strings in too many colors.  So I pinned, sewed, and trimmed until I had 100+ little blocks.  And still no idea what I would do with them.


And then I thought of a string quilt with a green background because I'd just found green cotton for $1.00/yard.  So I cut side-setting triangles of green and sewed them to the sides of the quarter cabins.  I have yet to sew these into strips, which is why they look off kilter in the photo below.


My first idea with the strips was something like this, except with leaves of the colors and fabrics I used in the blocks.  And just recently I thought maybe I should include some red flowers.  I have no idea where this is going.


The leaves in the photo above are only about 2-3" long and half as wide.  As I look at this photo I wonder if the strips will be so balanced/comparable in size and interest that they will cancel each other and become boring.  I wonder if the vines/leaves need to be stronger or more dominant, with larger leaves and flowers and wider stems.  (Since I've already sewn the triangles to the cabin blocks there's no way they're going to be bigger.) 

The width of the cabin strips will finish at 6½".  I have six strips which will finish at about 84" long.  

Considerations and questions I need to answer:
  • I'm wondering whether I need to be careful about the color placement of the cabins.  I wonder about this because as I look at the photo below, my eye goes to sections where there are several lights together.
  • Width of this quilt, or maybe all dimensions.  Single bed?  Queen bed? 
  • I need to determine the width of the vines/leaves/flowers strips.  Part of the consideration of this is dominance of these strips, but also the final width of the quilt.  I don't need to use all the cabin strips but if I use 6, their combined width will be 36".  Five more strips at, let's say, 10" will increase the width to 86".  Or would it be better to use 5 cabin strips and 6 vine strips, which would equal 90".  Or 4 cabin strips and 5 vine strips to equal 74".  Or . . . .   This quilt is not yet talking to me!
  • Vines in red, leaves in light green, flowers in reds?  Vines in red, leaves multi-colored but no red, flowers in red?  Few leaves, more flowers?  More leaves, occasional flowers?  Carefully placed flowers or randomly placed flowers?  All the same kind/style of flowers, a variety of flowers?
  • Or, instead of vines and flowers, sew strings together, cut them all 3" or 4" or 5" wide, and use them between the cabin strips?
  • There are so many options!  My mind keeps going.

My next step is pinning then sewing the cabins into strips.  Maybe by the time that's done this quilt will have an opinion about itself and I'll have a good idea what to do next.  Even if not, it will be easier to move strips around than it is to move the individual blocks around.

So often I find myself in this situation.  I was going to say "in this mess" but it isn't really a mess, just a part of the process when I don't have a finished quilt in mind.  It's both fun and challenging.

Do you ever find yourself in situations like this?  If so, what do you do?

I'm linking this post to Humble Quilts Stringalong Month 9 at Humble Quilts.  Thanks for hosting, Lori, and for the incentive it provides.

--Nancy.
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Saturday, September 28, 2019

Three Quilts from a Little Quilt Show

I attended a small, local quilt show last weekend.  Only a few quilts caught my attention enough to look more closely and take photos.
Scrappy Oak Leaf and Acorns

Dear Mary Jane
This was time I've seen a Dear Jane quilt in person.  Those tiny blocks are so adorable but I would never have the patience to hand stitch them.  Imagine, all that work by hand, and the quilter had this machine quilted!

Leaves of Change

I was speaking with one of the organizers of the show and commented how I thought the show was getting smaller each year.  She said the most quilts they'd ever had entered was around 100 and this year they had 75 entered.  Maybe it seemed small because I was taken with fewer quilts than in earlier years, or perhaps there were more small quilts than larger ones.  I hope the quilts I didn't photograph didn't feel rejected.  ;-)  I know someone will love them a lot.

--Nancy.
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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

A Basket, a Tree, Two Letters, and a Star

There's nothing like knowing four little grands, their mom, and their aunt are coming to visit to get me on track to a quick finish.  Well, the finish of five blocks -- not a whole quilt finished.  These are my Cheddarback blocks for September and also my One Monthly Goal for this month.

Block 32
Cheddarback Block 32, 5" basket with fussy cut flowers
I auditioned six or eight fabrics but none seemed quit right for this block.  I dug deeper and found a 6" wide strip of fabric with bouquets of roses.  I would have shifted this fabric a little so the width of the bouquet was a little more centered but the fabric wasn't large enough.   This is a 5" block.

Block 33
Cheddarback Block 33, 12" Tree
One thing about making such a variety of blocks for Cheddarback is that you learn which ones you might like to make again -- or not.  This is one I doubt I'll make more again, though you can never tell for sure.  It was very time-consuming.  This is a 12" block.

Two Letters
Letter N for Cheddarback, 5" blockLetter D for Cheddarback, 5" block Cheddarback has five letters, two near the top and three toward the bottom.  Of the original letters, H, D, P, M, and another D, only the two Ds and the M work for my initials or for anyone else's in my family.  The D was easy, the N a little more challenging because I didn't have a pattern.  These are 5" blocks.

Block 31
Cheddarback Block 31, 5" pieced star
I posted about this 5" star a week or so ago.  You can read more about it here.

These are all of this month's blocks together.

I thought I had all the fabric I needed for the sashing and cornerstones but when I read the directions again, I realized that I don't have enough red.  Well, I have some red Moda Bella but it's a little on the rough side so I don't want to use it.  I don't know when I can get to the fabric store but soon, I hope.  (After family is gone.)

I laid out all the blocks just to have a look.  It's a poor photo but in real life it gives me an idea of what I might like to change.  I don't think I will change any of the little blocks.  Most are harder to make than the big ones--so much detail crammed into so few inches.  Of the big blocks, though, I question whether the Lily quilt block on the lower left is a little too blue.  I debated about using blue or brown and finally decided on the blue.  I might make a light/medium brown one, too.  I love that block pattern!


I'm linking this post to One Monthly Goal - September Finish Link-up at Elm Street Quilts.  Thanks for hosting, Patty.
I'm also linking to BOMs Away at What a Hoot Quilts.  Thanks for hosting, Lynette.

--Nancy.
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Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Making of a Star

This is my imperfect version of Cheddarback Block 31, a five-inch star.

Cheddarback Block 31

As I was choosing and cutting fabric I wondered of Mrs. Cheddarback had second thoughts about her fabric choices after she finished the block.  (You can see her original block here.)  My fabrics are similar to hers though my plaid might be a tad darker.  I think the full effect of the star disappears because the plaid is so close in color to the background fabric.  I can't help but imagine how delightful this star would look with stripes instead of plaid with the stripes running perpendicular to the center seams on each point.  Not Cheddarback style but much fun, I think.

Blocks like this intimidate me.  Such tiny pieces, so many seams, so many points, must measure 5½" after sewn, etc., etc.  For this block I needed 4 of each pattern piece.  I start by cutting out all the pieces and pinning them in stacks behind the pattern piece.


Then I lay out all the pieces just exactly as they will go in the block.  I used the section below as a trial to see if it would come out the correct size.  It did!


It's on the right, below.  Then I lay out all the other pieces.  This block was easier than I expected because each quadrant is the same.  I pin the pieces of each section just as they will be sewn, stitch all that are pinned, then press.  Next, I pin subsequent pieces together, sew, press, and lay out again, until all the pieces of each quadrant are sewn.  The only thing left to pin and stitch are the two upper and lower quadrants, then the center seam. 


And there's a quilt block.  Not a perfect one, mind you, but close enough for me not to remake it.

Cheddarback Block 31

Had I thought a little more about the plaid I would have cut the center edge of each star point on the same line of the plaid, as in the upper center and the upper left points.  It would have added a little continuity to the block.

Now that September  is nearly half over -- how time flies! -- I'm grateful I chose just the five Cheddarback blocks for my monthly goal.  Since Pathway is beginning again that's taken lots of time meeting, greeting, and helping students understand the program.  And we were out of town visiting my daughters and attending grandparents day lunch at school with two of our grands last week.  How fun to spend time with them!

While there we had an abbreviated tour of the Jack Jouett House.  Captain Jack Jouett is a relatively unknown Revolutionary War hero who rode 40 miles through the night forest to warn Thomas Jefferson of British Capt. Tarleton's approach.  His action helped saved Jefferson from capture.  Jouett is sometimes called the Paul Revere of the South.

The house was oh-so-charming, though it is hard to imagine living there with more than one or two children.  Jouett had 12!  I was sad the summer kitchen (used all year, from what I could tell) was closed for renovation.  We'll have to see that another time.

I love the silhouette logo with rider and horse dashing to Monticello.

I hope whatever you're doing brings you joy!

--Nancy.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Cheddarback One Monthly Goal for September

This month there are the usual five blocks for Cheddarback, one 12" and four 5".  But two of the 5" blocks are letters. 


We can make the ones shown or we can choose others.  Gay has created letter patterns which we can purchase or we can make our own patterns.  I'm stuck on choosing which letters to use.  I have four initials if I include my first, middle, maiden, and surnames, which leaves the need for one more.  Or I could do my first and last name, or ....  I wish I knew what Mrs. Cheddarback's letters stand for!

I haven't started pulling fabrics yet but will soon. 

Making these blocks is my One Monthly Goal for September.  I hope it will be a fairly easy goal to reach despite how difficult that first star looks!

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

--Nancy.
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Saturday, August 31, 2019

Sweet Land of Liberty, August's One Monthly Goal

These are my August blocks for the Sweet Land of Liberty sewalong on Cheri's Facebook page, hosted by Lori of Humble Quilts.

Sweet Land of Liberty blocks

The red stars are a lot bright.  They may become another color -- eventually.  And that Economy Block with the yellow may not become part of this quilt.  They're not sewn yet.

I did really, really consider whether to add the words to the couple-with-tree block.  The original lettering was too large so I traced my couple and tree on another piece of paper, then added the letters around it.  When I held it up to the window to trace the letters onto the block I just couldn't do it.


Perhaps the printed background fabric on the block was one of the reasons I decided against the letters.  The print doesn't show in the photo as much as it does in person.

Last night I sewed the first two rows together.  This was a challenge I did not enjoy.  I altered the length and width of the Lady Liberty and pineapple blocks requiring an adjustment to the other blocks, too.  There is no way this quilt will finish anywhere close to square.  The left side of the quilt is about 1/2 to 1" longer than the right side.   

Sweet Land of Liberty blocks

I claimed getting this far on this quilt as my One Monthly Goal for August.  I am unmotivated to finish this quilt and procrastinated working on it all month, almost dreading it.  Finally, on Thursday night, as I thought about it before falling asleep, I decided to just fold up all the pieces, put them away, and forget about it.  I love Cheri's quilt but I'm not in love with the process of making my own version.  By Friday morning, enough sense had returned that I decided to at least finish the goal I had stated at the beginning of August.  Now that I've completed that goal, I'll reconsider whether to keep going or not.  I have some parts of the rest of the quilt finished but have the lower right corner and the row of stars and houses across the bottom to finish.  Still quite a lot, actually.

As much as I like, enjoy, and appreciate primitive quilts, maybe making them myself isn't what I love to do.  What do you do when you're "done" with a quilt but the quilt's not yet finished?  Do you ever just throw it out or pass it on?  Salvage part and repurpose it?  Or, perhaps, you never lose interest in a project?

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

--Nancy.
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