Wednesday, April 17, 2024

This and That

Last week I needed some slow, portable hand stitching that didn't require much thinking.  I pulled out several of these little plaid baskets with zinnias and stitched while I listened to and watched a conference online.
I finished these two, above and below.  They are crooked because of the angle of the camera--they really do have perpendicular edges with square corners.
Below is one that's still in progress.  The colors of all these baskets are much more vibrant in person.
I think I still have half as many basket blocks to finish as are finished but I'm beginning to think of how to set them.  Maybe several scrappy borders around them, but no decisions yet.  There's still plenty of time.

My favorite iron that I've ever owned is this Hamilton Beach with auto shut-off, Model 1421OR.
It heated in less than a minute, stayed on an hour before shutting off (auto shut-off required for me because I forget to turn off my iron), and had a button to push to wind the cord into a storage spot at the bottom (something new to me).  I don't use the steam feature.  I've had a lot of different irons in my lifetime, including a Rowenta (that sparked).  Sadly, I set this one too close to the edge of the ironing board one day and it fell.  I almost caught it.  When it landed on the floor the light stayed on and I thought it was still working, but then the light went out and it was dead.  I was so sad.  I bought another Hamilton Beach with similar features.  I hope it turns out to be as good.

Fruit trees are in bloom all around us, but we lost two of our three cherry trees last year to disease.  The third and remaining tree has a few blossoms.  In past years they looked bounteous. 
Did you watch the eclipse last Monday, the 8th?  We were a few miles outside the path of totality so drove about 30 or 45 minutes to a nearby small town to see it and sat in the parking lot of thrift store we often visit. 
Totality lasted only two minutes, and it was amazing.  The sky did not get as black as in some of the photos I've seen online.  Instead, it was like sunset in all directions toward the horizon--at 2:00 in the afternoon.  I doubt I'll be alive in 2045 to see the next one so I'm glad to have seen this one.

Bramble Blooms is on hold at the moment while I try to imagine possibilities.  I'm actually considering redoing the first border.  I'm really such a slow thinker when it comes to creating quilts....

I'm making slow progress on Everyday Patchwork.  I'm beginning to wonder if I really like hand quilting as much as I thought I did.  But if not hand quilted, what?  Not machine quilted, but maybe big stitch or tied quilts?  Or maybe make the tops, enjoy the process, then pass them on to an organization that has people who will quilt and bind them or turn them into comforters.  I have such a stack of quilts to be quilted!

I hope things are great for you!


Friday, March 22, 2024

Bramble Blooms and Little Outings

A few weeks ago Audrey posted the prompt for the final border for Bramble Blooms I.  I anticipated the repeated block but I did not anticipate 4-, 9-, or 12-patch blocks.  Her quilt looks fabulous with 12-patch blocks and so do several others I've seen online.  But mine?  I'm not so sure.  Does a picnic blanket or a gingham tablecloth come to mind?
Bramble Blooms I in progress
I'm faced with two challenges.  The first is that I forgot to add a half inch to my measurements to allow for seams.  Right now what I have measures 40" x 48".  (Not 40½" x 48½"!)  The other challenge is that I want a quilt that is at least 60" x 80".  If there is only this last border, it will have to measure at least 10" on each side and at least 16" top and bottom or 32" divided two ways for the top and bottom borders

This is the first iteration, just playing, seeing how the colors look, etc.  The border squares in the photo are 3".  Much too large, far out of proportion.  So those are a no.  But what to do?  I feel like I've backed myself into a corner with the large appliques and that wide brown border.  Hmmm.

Maybe the quilt needs several narrower borders.  Maybe the squares won't have right-angle corners.  Maybe I should try a variety of reds, maybe without alternating lights.  Perhaps a medium width teal border, then 2" squares into 9- or 12-patches, and another border, maybe with applique.  Do you ever begin a quilt of your own design with strong ideas about how it will look when it's finished?  Me, too, but this isn't that process. 

I don't know what I'm doing.  I look at this and I think, "Oh my gosh, what have I done?"  At least I still love the center.  And I remind myself of Audrey's thought (paraphrased) that out of the three quilts in this series we're bound to fall in love with one of them.

I put this on the floor last week, took photos, and picked it up while my daughter and her kitties were here.  They're gone again and I have exactly two weeks to consider and hopefully make some decisions until I have to pick it up.  They'll come again in two Fridays. 

If you've read this far, thank you!  Please know that this post is a thinking-out-loud, rambling in my brain post, but I would love to hear (read) any thoughts, suggestions, or observations you may have for this quilt in progress.

The Little Outings

Our local library offers "culture passes" which are checked out like books and allow library patrons to visit various places of interest at no cost.  When we only want to spend an hour or two somewhere, it's great to have these free passes.  I suppose this tells you what I've been doing instead of sewing.

Two weeks ago we went to the Columbus Museum of Art.  It was a beautiful old building, and part of it still is, but they built a modern addition around part of it.  I love it when architects maintain the integrity of old buildings, but at least they didn't take down any of the old walls.  There's a section where the outside of the old building is now inside the new addition. 

This green and white quilt was on display.  The information called it "Sawtooth Diamond in a Square Quilt" and told us it was made of wool challis by an unidentified Amish maker between about 1910 and 1940.  The first photo is a detail of the quilting in the corners and the next is the whole quilt.  I think the quilting is an unusual motif on an Amish quilt.
Sawtooth Diamond in a Square Quilt at Columbus Museum of Art
Sawtooth Diamond in a Square Quilt at Columbus Museum of Art
This is part of the ceiling in the old building.   So much detail!  I'm generally not a fan of blues but they are perfect in this setting.
ceiling in the old part of the Columbus Museum of Art

I think museum directors of Columbus love Dale Chihuly's work.  This is one of several pieces we saw at the Museum of Art.  I'm sure it has a name but I didn't see a sign.
a Chihuly piece at the Columbus Museum of Art
This past Tuesday we went to the Franklin Park Conservatory.   It is a huge, mostly glass building filled with plants, art, and, at this time of year, there is a garden room with butterflies.  My photos of the butterflies and chrysalises did not come out well, but there were at least 50 varieties.  and because this post is so long, I'm not including many plants.

More Chihuly.  This was in a stairwell.  I think the circles are between 18" and 24" but they could be larger.  No small feat to invisibly suspend that much weight of fragile glass!
a Chihuly piece at the Franklin Park Conservatory
This is another Chihuly piece that was suspended from the ceiling.  They are individual shapes grouped closely together.  Thank goodness there's no wind in the building.
a Chihuly piece at the Franklin Park Conservatory
And the last Chihuly photo.  These shapes are at least 36" across.   They were beautiful!

a Chihuly piece at the Franklin Park Conservatory
The Conservatory is divided into rooms with various growing conditions.  I thought these orchids were beautiful.  They reminded me of old, aged silk.orchids at the Franklin Park Conservatory I took a few photos of other plants but this post is already so long....

Great news is that spring is in evidence all around me.  Daffodils, crocuses, forsythia are in bloom.  And many of the bushes have sprouts on them.  Have you ever noticed that spring turns green from the ground up?  First the grass, then flowers that are close to the ground then taller flowers, then bushes and shrubs, and finally the trees leaf out into green glory.  Isn't nature amazing?!

I don't know what kind of blooms these are--maybe witch hazel?--but I thought they were fun.  Almost like starbursts. 
We've had some sunny days, partly sunny days, and cloudy, rainy days these past weeks.  We've also had snowflakes and weather into the 60s.  An Ohio spring!  Except it's earlier this year than most years. 
Thanks for visiting and reading!  (And leaving comments, if you do.)

I'm linking this post to
Finished or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts
Off the Wall Friday at Creations by Nina Marie (any creative effort)
Thank you for hosting, ladies.


Thursday, March 21, 2024

Links to Enjoy #22

I haven't been around the internet much these past few weeks, or the sewing machine either, for that matter, so I have only three links to share.  I hope you enjoy them.  (I'm sorry they're all videos, but they're short, if that helps.)

Oh, roundabouts.  I don't like them.  I still think a red/yellow flashing light or even a stop sign works better than a roundabout.  There is one large one in the country not far from us with fields on all four of what-used-to-be corners.  It seems a silly waste of money because there is so little traffic.  Then there is one in a residential area of the city on a narrow side street.  It's probably not more than about 12 feet across.  Another waste of money (in my opinion) and almost a u-turn when a simple left turn was adequate.  And many Ohio drivers don't know how to use them.  Some drivers will sit at the entrance to the roundabout until there are no cars in sight, wait another minute or two, then slowly move into the circle.  I'm happy to drive but I really don't like to waste time in the car.  Let me just get where I'm going.  All that to introduce this roundabout in Swindon, England.  If I go to England, I will avoid Swindon.

Are you a fan of roundabouts?

I used to think making a wine glass sing was a stunt or a trick. Then we bought a few goblets at the thrift store just to try it and learned that they really do sing, though I don't think we ever managed to "play" a song.  We learned that it requires wet fingertips.  (In the video below you'll see the musician dip his fingers into the glasses of water near the center front and rear of the table.)  Our paltry effort was nothing compared to the expertise of this musician.

And then there's the glass armonica, created by Benjamin Franklin, an instrument in which he put glass rims on a revolving rod which rotates for the musician to play.  Amazing!  Many years ago we saw someone play one of these at Colonial Williamsburg.

I think these have such an ethereal sound.

That's it for this installment of Links to Enjoy.  I hope you enjoyed at least one.


Thursday, March 7, 2024

Links to Enjoy #21

I found some interesting posts about books, nature/weather, a quilt, Daylight Saving Time, and some tapestries.  Maybe one or two will be of interest to you.

I've always loved all kinds of paper and books, even when I was a child, so of course, this video about Sophia Bogle, book restorer, appealed to me.  Her work is amazing.  You can read more about her here but I think this video is better.

Here's another book highlight, this time about a library of handmade miniature books.  Read a post about Tomas Mayer here

How cold the temperature must have been for these geyser spouts to freeze when hitting the air!

Here's an interesting quilt post from a quilt restorer:  A Tale of Two Victorian Crazy Quilts - and a Fabric Mystery

How do you feel about Daylight Saving Time?  I'm one who intensely dislikes it.  Why Daylight Saving Time Messes with Your Brain is an interesting post citing research of its effects.  

The tapestries at this post, Communal Art-Making Is at the Core of Sanaa Gateja’s Monumental Paper Bead Tapestries, look like fiber to me.  Who knew paper beads were still a thing?


Friday, March 1, 2024

Bramble Blooms Again and Spring Green

Note: In real life, the browns and tans are lighter than in this photo.  (Which probably means that the other colors are also lighter.)
Bramble Blooms 1 center and first border
The center and first border of Bramble Blooms 1 are stitched and finished (though I often include the disclaimer to any quilt in progress, "unless I change my mind"). I don't think I will for this quilt, though. I would have to see some really big problem to decide to unstitch, recreate or create new, and then restitch.

I switched out the solid blue/grey fabric of the flying bird to a tiny, tiny gingham in blue and teal which I thought lightened the bird just enough to make me happy, and didn't change the color too much.  (See the previous blue here if you're interested to compare.)
I thought the blue/grey was just a tad too dark and I'm satisfied with this fabric for the large bird.  I left the smaller bird on the fence as it was, with the solid blue/grey fabric.

This is the tan/light brown fabric I used for the arcs.  I love that it has both red and blue in it.  It was the inspiration to use a blue for the birds.
One odd thing about the half-square-triangle corners at the bottom is that they are not the same. 
I made the one on the left first by cutting a rectangle background, then cutting it diagonally two ways.  For some reason it didn't occur to me that the resulting X would be more like an X and less like a + turned 90 degrees.  I now know that a rectangle will not create a quarter-square-triangle block.  I used a square background piece for the block on the right and decided the two were close enough to use them as they were.  It is an improv quilt, after all!

Audrey will probably post the next prompt in coming weeks.  I try to imagine what it might be:  blocks of our choice, or blocks she suggests?  Another border with appliqued letters?  Or ...?  Will she recommend a color from the ones we've used, or a new color?  We'll see soon enough.  For now, I'll take a little break from Bramble Blooms.

The exciting spring green around here is this ice cream carton of Sweet Woodruff.  Actually, there are two cartons!
In October or November I put several small Sweet Woodruff plants into two large ceramic pots, then dropped one as I moved it.  The best I could come up with to hold the plants and soil were two plastic ice cream cartons with some rocks in the bottom.  I honestly didn't think they would make it through the winter.  Part of the time they were outside but I brought them into our breezeway when it got really cold.  The plants in all three pots looked dead two weeks ago.  Not one to give up, I put them outside to get some sun and fresh air when the warm weather arrived, and left them.  And then it rained, and then it snowed.  I thought, I hope the snow insulates and protects them.  When the snow melted, the pots were waterlogged but there were bright green sprouts coming up in the two plastic pots.  Hooray!  Sadly, the plants in the ceramic pot look like they didn't make it.  This spring I need to just do it:  dig some holes and plant these little ones.  I'm just so pleased to see all that green.  The little pot I have inside is also growing well so that can get planted outside, too.

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
Thank you for hosting, ladies.

I hope you have a have a great weekend.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Well, I Don't Know....

Here's my Bramble Blooms so far.  The birds are not appliqued yet because I'm still adjusting the placement of the larger bird.  I think the birds' color is okay but I wish I had a print fabric in a similar shade/tone to give a little more interest and depth.  (Or maybe the bird should be grey?)
Bramble Blooms 1
I don't know....  I never know about fabric choices until things are stitched down, at which point it's a little late to make changes (unless I want to devote hours and hours to unstitching and restitching again). 

At first I thought about green pickets but when I got ready to sew them, they just seemed wrong.  So I went with the cream/tan/pink print ones.
Bramble Blooms 1 fabric consideration
I'm looking at this as a learning experience.  If I were to remake this quilt, what changes and improvements would I make?
Bramble Blooms 1
If I make another version/variation, how would it be different?  Would I change colors, or motifs, or placements?

I'm learning how unbrave (cowardly?) I am with color.  I tend to go for "safe" colors.  Maybe that makes for a boring quilt?

In the photos above, the lighter browns in the middle photo are more accurate to the in-person browns.

As always, I'm thrilled to read your comments, thoughts, and observations about this part of Bramble Blooms (or any other quilts I'm working on and post about).  I always appreciate that readers see and notice things I don't.  Thank you.

It shouldn't take me long to stitch the birds when I finally begin.  At least I'm mostly caught up for the next prompt when Audrey posts about it in coming weeks.

Two weeks ago it seemed like spring was coming along nicely, and then that Friday we had a wonderful snowstorm.  It took a few days to melt and we had spring weather again. This morning I awoke to several inches of snow.  Even with the snows, it seems like Phil's prediction of an early spring might be more accurate than not.  The prediction for several days next week is in the 60s and for 71 degrees on March 4. 

I hope you're having a good weekend!

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Links to Enjoy #20

I've included just four links this time.  I've been busy with Bramble Blooms and having the flu and not spending much time doing other things.

I love this video of Ken Burns, documentarian extraordinaire, sharing his quilt collection at his barn.

You can also watch a video of his quilt exhibit at the International Quilt Museum in Nebraska here.  

Anna Devís and Daniel Rueda take such fun photographs.  Always a twist on people and the environment.  I love the photo of the lady in a red skirt, pulled wide into the shape of a mouth, standing below two arched windows.  Suddenly, the wall is smiling!

Welcome to Monowi, Nebraska: population 1.  The post at the link was written a few years ago.  Elsie Eiler, now 90, is the sole the resident or Monowi and serves as mayor, librarian, tavern owner, and more. 

It's about mindset and movement:  My Mother Got on a Bike.  It Changed Her life.  (If you can't read the article at that link, go here and click the link to read it.)

This chart, right, goes along with the concept of mindset from the above article. 

If you're new to this concept and want to learn more, read Carol S. Dweck's book, Mindset:  The New Psychology of Success.  Or watch one of her youtube presentations or interviews.  I thought this one was good (though it's a little long at 47 minutes), but there are others, too.


Wednesday, February 7, 2024

More Scrappy Stars and Bramble Blooms

I'm making more scrappy stars because...
red Scrappy Ohio Star on light background
I have a container and a stack of small scraps.  What a mess!  The yellow box on the left is filled with triangles of all colors and sizes.
I'm sorting the triangles by warm colors (reds, yellows, oranges, and the purples that lean toward red), cool colors (blues, greens, and the purples that lean toward blue), and pale/pastel/natural colors.   

This is leader/ender sewing but I have to keep cutting to have enough triangles to sew.  I'm working on the warm colors first.  Red stars on white, as in the first photo, or white stars on red?  I have a lot of triangles to sew together before I have to make a decision.
white Scrappy Ohio Star on red background
I'm also cutting 1½" squares for the Tiny Nine-Patch blocks from the pile of scraps on the right in the second photo.  I hope to keep up with those to finish with the sew-along.  The triangles will be a longer-term project.

And then there's Bramble Blooms.  I finally finished stitching the brown borders on Monday.  I got up Tuesday morning with the intention of cutting the arcs from tan/light brown fabric so I could begin stitching them but my indecision got the better of me.  (Or maybe the quilt's not talking to me?)  What fabric/color should those arcs be? 

I tried red arcs and they disappeared against the brown.  I tried green and the same thing happened.  I pulled out some blues-leaning-to-teal but they looked awful.  I finally decided the tan arcs would work after all, so I cut and prepared two.  And they're also awful!  Maybe it's the wrong tan, or maybe that color range is wrong (but which would be right)?  Or maybe they're too big?  Too high?  Too wide?  Or maybe the "legs" of the arcs are too wide?  Or...?  (For perspective, the top and side borders are 8" wide and the bottom border is 9".)
Bramble Blooms in progress
My daughter suggested gold but that wasn't quite right.  And then I thought, since I've used white paper to get an idea for placement, maybe I should try the background fabrics behind the flowers.
Bramble Blooms in progress
Nope, that's not right, either.  Maybe I need to change the applique but I don't have any good ideas....

So this is where I am with Bramble Blooms.  And after I finally decide the color/fabric for the arcs, I'll probably need to reconsider the fabric/colors for the "pickets."  Or maybe small arcs all the way around.  Or...?
Bramble Blooms in progress
I was grateful to read in Audrey's recent post that it will be at least a few more weeks before she announces the next prompt.  Maybe—I hope—I will be ready!

We've had a week of sunny days and warmer temperatures.  It's been wonderful!  It almost makes me think Punxsutawney Phil could have been right this year and we'll have an early spring. 

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

Thanks for reading and thank you for any comments.


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