Tuesday, December 5, 2017

More from the 16 patch farm!

  The baby quilt is pinned for quilting and the binding is pressed and ready for finishing.  Just the quilting needs to be done.  I am seeking inspiration on that part or I will be resigned to meandering.  But I have a few days to contemplate it all. 

  So I visited the 16 patch farm.....the blocks were sitting by the iron and needed the final pressing.  I put up a crop of the darker blocks--shade garden blocks---to the left.  To the right went the second crop of the lighter blocks that jumble together like a country garden. 
  I could see a couple of blocks that needed to be switched to the other side.  Why so  narrow, you ask?  My thought here was to make narrow throws for the foot of the bed---foot warmer style.  I sort of thought they would be more useful for us. 
  Since the blocks will finish at 6'', I need to make a few more to have enough length.

    Over the weekend I made more  blocks while watching a movie.  Then I began playing on the design wall....and everything got jumbled and moved around.   Seeing the photo now, I think I made a mistake.  I like this better on the design wall but not in the photo. 

Insight:  Remember this trick....a photo does not lie.  I need to like the photo and the design wall layout!
That's okay, I can take it all down and add a few more blocks to the mix.  Then I can see what the farm crop yields the next time:)

  Two small trees are decorated and a few bit of Christmas decor spread around.  A small bit of shopping is done, and list made for food items to buy and bake.  Now if the weather would cool off enough to be able to heat up the ovens for cookies.  Maybe next weekend. 
Happy stitching. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Ending and beginning/ November to December

    November began with the Scrappy Mountains quilt blocks that became Mountain Reflections.  Luckily it was finished up in time to get the photos with the fabulous fall color we had. 
    Multiple doctor appointments kept us on the road and confused the calendar for this month.  At the month's end, there is one more visit to the dreaded medical office, and I should be clear of that stuff for a few months. 

  I also began some hourglass blocks which have been set aside for later....if ever:)    I got caught up in thinking I would do the Quiltville mystery quilt but instead the fabrics needed to go into a  quilt that will be required by February.  Namely a baby quilt for dear and young friends.

   Just a corner of the baby quilt made with orange peel appliqued shapes for now.  I ended up adding a couple of borders to enlarge it a bit.  I cut the extra fabric up for binding, and now I need the backing to get it quilted.
   This is the main task for December.   I am hoping to get it completed and mailed before the new year...... Heather is due in Feb, but I want it there before the day!

  So no mystery fabrics now and the first clue is out.  I am just biding my time and will decide if I am going all in for this one or not.  I will just download the clues for now. 

   Instead I moved on to the 16 patch. 
  I have an even bigger stack of assorted blocks. More than enough now to play around on the design wall and see what happens.   I talked about a shade garden versus a country garden mix of blocks, and I continue  along those lines.  As I pull strips to pair that is the theme I  try to imagine.
  So once I get the baby quilt down for quilting, I will play a bit with these blocks again.  Fair warning to those who start in on some 16 patch blocks....they are quite addictive.  Worse than potato chips!

December plans.....quilt the baby quilt, play with the 16 patch, maybe pin the D4P that is hanging around.  Bake some cookies, take naps, have some coffee....all the comforting things like that.   
Happy stitching. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Sewing on

  One set of appointments done, 2 more this week....ugh!  But I am thankful they are just check ups and check ins.  Except for the mammogram this week, but we will not think of that yet.  I have some blocks to show that I have stitched a bit.

   The first four blocks are pressed, fused and appliqued down for the baby quilt...... and the remaining blocks are set to go under the needle.  I will be stealing time between the appointments and a little bit of baking this week to work on these during the day.  I am using a pale yellow Aurifil thread for the buttonhole stitch on them, so that means using the Janome for stitching.

  The 16 patch blocks......I am loving them and the entire process from the selecting fabrics, sewing stratas, sub-cuts, and sewing again.  If you need a good/excellent tutorial for a 16 patch block, I have just the place for you to learn.  At Exuberant Color, Wanda has put together a perfect tutorial on her technique....click here. 
   I was inspired by her garden series projects to try this.  So the only way to learn, for me is to do.  I did a few.    Here's the mix of what I have sewn so far using 2'' strips. 

  Here is the cropped version of what I think will be in the "shade garden"  quilt.    Or maybe a couple of them need to shift to the country garden one.  Time will tell.

  I have more strata strips sets sewn and I work on them in spare moments or while watching TV in the evenings.  The Featherweight is perfect for this project. 

  I took a couple of photos to share the fabric selection part of the process.  I thought I would see how a light version and a darker version worked on the same floral print.   The upper block has a medium to light mottled fabric verses the dark plum in the bottom.  Quite a difference....the top one is mellow--country garden, and the bottom has drama--shade garden-- and the green in the print pops more to me. 

  The floral in this print has a lot of value difference....dark areas and light areas.  The top photo it is paired with a batik and then with a deep plum fabric.  I think both will work in the shade garden version. 

  The selection of the pairs is an interesting exercise for figuring out contrasts.  The shade garden needs enough contrast to be seen, but not too strong overwhelm.  I need to dig deeper into the stash for the alternate fabric for pairing with the florals. 

  So that's the plan for the week.....stitch between appointments, bake a few things ahead for Christmas.  We aren't doing a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving.....crazy for the 2 of us.  It's eat out or have a steak in....lol.  We have a beautiful week of weather, I plan on stealing moments to enjoy it.
Happy stitching. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Those 16 patch blocks

  I put together a couple of the 16 patch this afternoon to see what I had come up with. 

    I immediately saw 2 different  gardens.....a country garden and a shade garden.    All of the combinations in this photo remind me of a country garden.   The type with a few weeds, volunteer plants, some shade and bright sun. 

  Selecting the 2 fabrics to pair together is the hardest part for sure.  If the contrast fabric to the floral is too busy, the combo will be quite muddy.

   In this group I paired dark batiks and a dark green with brighter florals.   This says shade garden to me, which is fine by me.  I'm just not quite sure how it will all combine. 

  I have plenty of floral strips already cut, so I have a huge selection to pick from.  The darker contrast takes more time to hunt down.  Since this is an experiment to see what happens, and what I like, I'll just mix and match till I am satisfied. 

  The first 4 blocks of the orange peels are ready for stitching down.  The color is a bit off here, but these blocks make me smile.  I see a happy little girl twirling and laughing.  Exactly what I think these fabrics need. 

So I have plenty of work for me this week.
Happy stitching. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Trust the instincts

   Changing the plans for the baby quilt involved changing other plans, too.  It's one of those ideas that seems to grow on its own and affects anything in its path.  First, I thought I would do something scrappy and quick, and after 3 or 4 blocks of scrappy  I realized that would not make me happy or satisfied.    I put the blocks aside for another adventure later.  Nothing cam to me, so I decided to sleep on it a day or two.
  Second,  the fabrics I had pulled for the upcoming mystery were stacked on the thread cabinet and making sad faces at me.    These were not my colors or style of fabrics at all.  My instinct said I would never be happy or even finish a mystery in this vein.  And somewhere, long ago in my insight list I wrote:

          InsightTrust my instincts.  That is why I have them.  

     Saturday was cold and rainy, the sewing room was warm and bright.  Right off my creative muse changed gears and moved things around.

   Those fabrics for the mystery were turned into a pile of orange peel units!  Big fat ones ready for applique on to a creamy yellow background.  I added a few purple and blue prints to the scheme of things.   My instinct is much more satisfied and happy with this direction.   The combination smiles and says special little girl now. 

 I mentioned the 16 patch blocks last week, so in between other things, I did pull out strips and begin to cut them to length for a single block in different combos.   I am not sure of how I want this one to play out, so I thought just a few variations would provide a bit of inspiration....or so I hope. 

Anyway, my main task is to begin appliqueing the orange peel units.  Then we can see if the instinct was right:)

Happy stitching. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Mountain Reflection

   The most beautiful golden and rust colored leaves are decorating the Painted Maple in the front yard.   Early this spring when we had the tree guys work on some of them, they shaped this one up so nice.  As this is the first year it had showy color, maybe their work paid off.   They left me a couple of good limbs for quilt showing, too. 

   I did the quilting on this in a meandering loop as an all over design.  It's a good open design and will give lots of soft texture.  This should be a cuddly lap throw. 

  I used the straight layout for the Scrappy Mountain Majesty blocks.  The pattern is here with good tutorial. 
   I did this pattern once before several years ago and used the staggered layout.  This one reminds me of reflections or shadows, hence the name, Mountain Reflections

  I started with 8 1/2'' large squares of floral fabrics  this time around.  The blocks finish up at 6'' by 7 1/2''.

   So after taking a gob/gazillion photos in the tree, I turned around a saw the Japanese Maple in the side yard.  It has the deep burgundy red leaves and it very showy itself.  So one last photo. 


   I attached the binding and label this morning.   And called it done.  Of course, it needs a good wash after being drug around the yard. 


Mountain Reflections:
  Size is 42'' by 56'', a small throw size.
  One last look before the leaves fall with the expected rains this week.

    And now I need to turn my attention to the baby quilt that will be gifted to Chad and Amber.  Her due date is February, so I feel the need to get started.   I don't move as quick as I did.....so I must begin the cutting.

 That's my main task for the month, although I have a very long list of things/quilts/projects I want to start on....lol.  The usual lament. 
   Baby quilt first,   hourglass blocks as leader and enders, and  begin  sorting fabrics for a 16 patch using up florals, what else would you expect?   The 16 patch is inspired by Exuberant Color.    Wanda did a series of "garden" quilts a few years ago using this method.  She is working on another one, and the bug bit me to try one too.    Happy stitching. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Hourglass leader/ender units

  Like the rest of those doing the Quiltville Mystery 2017, I began pulling fabric.    I ran across this fabric in a bin that I had intended to do as a bargello.  It has a very similar color palette, maybe just a bit more red than orange.  I will put it in the coral stack and see if it works.

    I found a lot of scraps for the blue/aqua/turquoise.  My pile runs the gamut from light to darker tones......it will depend on the placement as to what will work best in the mystery quilt.

Silhouettes at Sunset color scheme from Clever Chameleon  I'm not going to photo share all my scraps as many are just strips and chunks, not good FQ size.  I can always add or pick up extra as I go along.    And I am still debating on the brown....chocolate I love but have little of in the stash.  And then I ran across this color palette on Clever Chameleon.  A very similar color set....with the addition of purple.  I am wondering if the brown could be shifted to plum and burgundy. 

This is not a race, but lessons in cutting, accuracy, and following directions.  LOL.....not the best in any of those areas now, so let the mystery happen to me.

   What I really wanted to do this weekend was get the Double 4 Patch together and pressed.  I have one more row to go and it will be ready to join the 2 sections I have created.  I mentioned that along the way I was working on another type of leader and ender.

  So here is a tip/trick I picked up when trimming HSTs---or in this case hourglass units.   Once you have sewn on the diagonal lines and cut the sections apart, trim before you press open.  I marked a ruler using painter's tape to point to the line I want to line up with the sewn seam line.   That is the sewn seam line, not the cut edge of the fabric.  You can see my cut edge is wobbly.....but the seam line is straight.  I line up the marked line on the sewn line , and the vertical arrows on this ruler are perfect for keeping the hourglass blocks straight.  Then I  trim the HST before pressing  open.....as the block in the upper left corner.

   My hourglass blocks are ending up at 3 1/2'' unfinished.  I started with 4 1/2'' square or larger.  I say that because I am clearing out a mixed up blend of extra squares, unused squares, charm squares.....any square leftover or not used that is 4 1/2'' or more.  I will just stack these up for now, either intending them for a border---I think they would look good just strung together---or turn them into block units.

Along the way, I pulled out my old iron for pressing.  It is a Light n' Easy from about 1985....lol.  And it is much lighter that my Rowenta.  My wrist and hands have been so painful and sore with the season change, I knew I could not use the larger iron.   Maybe older is better for me.
Happy stitching.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Movie and a road trip

  Nothing, I got nothing done that I had planned.  That's OK.....it was time for a bit of fun this week it seems.  On Thursday we decided to check out a movie....Let There Be Light.   It was a heavy tissue/tear jerker story.  I was emotionally drained.

Image may contain: one or more people, sky and outdoor  And Friday we took a drive to Seneca to Hochstetler's Country Store.  I had seen a post of FB that they carried bulk food items.   About 10 years ago, we shopped at a bulk food item store in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.  I have been ordering dried soup mix and dressing/dip mixes from them ever since.  So I figured it was worth an hour's drive to see what they carried here. 
   After an excellent sandwich for lunch,  I picked up mix for Corn Chowder,  Beef Vegetable, Creamy Broccoli soup,  and the Cucumber and Dill dip mix and a few others.    So glad to know a source is nearby.....we will return.

   Remember what time of year it is......Sir Old Man started with the Time Change conversation at dinner yesterday.  I put my hand up and said STOP!  Do not talk to me about it until 5 pm tomorrow.  If you touch those clocks before then, I will not know when to fix dinner to feed you,  and you might starve. 
    Then I smiled sweetly (ha!) and ate my dinner.  I think I shocked him and he silently agreed to abide by my plan.  He knows how out of sorts I get when the time changes.....in either direction. 

  Expect it.....I am pulling fabric for the Quiltville Mystery.  I love the color scheme and plan to play along, if only in a smaller version.  And I plan on stitching some more on the D4P and get it assembled into a top. 
Happy stitching.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October....and on and on it goes.

   I had 2 projects to work on this month........ The scrappy floral mountains is under the needle....only not finished.   I am about half way thru the quilting, and easy meandering loop.  I debated on trying something more complicated or with detail.   But common sense prevailed and I knew the florals were so busy nothing much would show, so why invest that much time.

   The other got finished...... the rail fence in florals.

   I worked on the leader and ender ---Double 4 Patch---as I assembled both of these quilts.   Talk about a bonus.....I will probably work on hourglass blocks as leader and ender as I assemble this one.  Never ending, just one after another.

   Bonnie Hunter released her colors for the Mystery Quilt......I sent Sir Old Man to Lowe's for color cards.  LOL, he was wanting to get nails for the nail gun anyway.    He needs them to make a couple more pumpkins for the front porch:)   The sun was quite bright so the photo is washed out.
   This is his first prototype.  Made from wood pallets, unstained raw wood.  He sculpted a stem  of sorts too.   He plans on a couple more that are taller.  I will get better photos too.

   We had a great visit with Chad while he was in town over the weekend.  He and Amber are now in Missouri and expecting a second child.  He noted the featherweight was out, and said he was so relieved that I was back to quilting.    So I am now perusing thru patterns for the next baby quilt.  I have an couple of ideas which I will nail down soon. 

I will figure out next month when it gets here......tomorrow.  Happy stitching, and eating chocolate.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Double 4 Patch

    I began writing this post yesterday, got sidetracked with the weather, and completely forgot to finish it.   The weather front moved through and we got 3 1/2'' of rain, which we needed, just not all at once.  Tornadoes did drop down in the next county, and we got hooked on watching the news. 

  I worked up more blocks for the Double 4 Patch.    Now the chain effect is more obvious.  I will put together the parts that I have on the work tray and see how big it is.  Since I will use this as a donation quilt, a large throw will be fine.  It's about 40'' by 48'' now.

  So I moved on to sewing up some floral strips between joining the units for the D4P.   These blocks are done using the strip pieced method I detail on this page.   

  I made up 4 different sets using 16 different fabrics.  I had intended to use 25 fabrics, and play around with the value layout......but that won't happen.

   To be honest, this is not my favorite technique now.  I love the finished block, and how neat it looks.  But this week has been one of dealing with "brain fog" which just throws me for a loop.  Things that should be easy, make no sense.  Spacial thinking goes out the window. 
    Luckily, some things are so ingrained that it is like a muscle memory.  Example....pressing the seams  in the watercolor so that they will nest together.  I  use the method of alternating direction for pressing by pressing odd number rows toward the lightest strip, and the even number rows toward the darkest strip.  
   The result is I ended up with enough blocks for a small table runner or wall hanging.....I will get things pressed and onto the design wall to decide.    But I  am pretty sure, I won't be working this way again.  It is much easier on the brain using the  "no-thinking"  interfacing method. 
Happy stitching:)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Floral rail fence

   I had to hunt a bit for the earlier post for when I started this one.  Here is one with the rail fence blocks on the design wall.     Blocks were begun in May as a leader and ender project. 

  It has been pinned and waiting for quilting for a couple of weeks. 

  I used my 2'' floral strips to cut 6 1/2'' pieces.  I planned out the blocks according to value....dark, medium, and light.  Please note, I used 4 strips per block and not the usual 3. 
  So you might find 2 dark, 1 medium, and 1 light strips per blocks.  Or a dark, 2 medium and a light......I decided to be random and not be strict about how many of what value per block. 
 With more attention to value, this could be turned into one of those 3-D designs.  Not for me.....they make my head hurt :0

   Label on the back....per usual.
Quilting can be seen on this photo of the back too......lots of overall swirls.   With this much busy on the front, little quilting can be seen.

   And I used up more strips of floral  fabrics for the mixed binding.

  Finished size is 48'' by 60 ''.

Freshly washed, it is soft and cuddly.   Just right for tonight as the weather finally shifts to almost fall.  Today was a beauty with temps about 70 and tonight in the 40s. 

Happy stitching.

Monday, October 16, 2017

From the oven

    I love  to experiment and make recipes  into my own version.  It must be my  background  in biology and chemistry.   I was a Medical Technologist in my earlier life......think laboratory tests and blood  and that was me.

   I found a recipe a few weeks ago for Pumpkin  Cream Cheese Muffins .....here for the original link from Pinterest.    I had a partial can of pumpkin in the freezer, and some left over sweet potatoes, and cream cheese is always around.   It was time for seeing how it would come together.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Loaf

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin (pure pumpkin puree)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.   Spray loaf pan with non-stick spray.  I used  2  loaf pans  9'' x 5'' pan.   Original recipe uses muffin tin...see link for those details. 
  • In a medium bowl, whisk flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda and salt until well combined. Set aside.
  • In large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, sugar and brown sugar.
  • Beat in eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Slowly whisk in the flour mixture, until there are no lumps.   Spoon about 1/2  of the mixture into the 2  loaf pans.  
  • In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add in sugar, egg and vanilla extract and beat until well combined.
  • Spoon the cream cheese mixture over the batter.  Spoon the remaining batter over the cream cheese mixture.  Use a knife to swirl thru the layers to blend into a swirl.   
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  •   My original batch was a mix of pumpkin puree and mashed sweet potatoes.   That minor adaptation  turned out great.  The extra loaf went into the freezer for later.   And wouldn't you know the photo did not turn out and now the pumpkin loaf is gone.....lol.   You will have to trust me, it was good.  
      Now I want to try homemade pizza dough....I'll share that one too.  

    Tuesday, October 10, 2017

    A very scrappy Double 4 Patch

        Several years ago, I saved the instructions for the Double Four Patch quilt that  I found  here at Mary Quilts.    Matter of fact, I have saved lots of her instructions as they are clear, and concise, and easy to print.

      A good variety of layouts for the Double 4 Patch can be found on Pinterest.  Here is the link to my board for some I found.   And there are some very beautiful ones based on color and not scraps.

      Last week I had a question about how to select the fabrics when putting the block units together....randomly select a dark and a light?.......was the actual context.   Answer......Ummmm, yes and no.  I don't really delight in being confusing, but sometimes things are not so cut and dried.

      This is the photo I shared for  my scrappy version.  On the left are 2 patch pieces, obviously dark and light, that are ready to become 4 patch units (paired sets in the center above the clothes pin).

    Then on the right some 4 patch units sewn with large squares above.   Look again at the 4 patch unit that is sewn.  The print squares are  not true dark values, but rather relatively dark because they are placed next to very real/true light squares.

      Searching thru the stack I found a few more blocks/examples to talk about.    First note the variety of the "light" squares......tan, cream, beige background or neutral prints.   There is even one  that has some obvious dark  there on the right.......the major part of it can be called light. 
      I usually think about Bonnie Hunter's standard.......anything lighter than a brown paper bag goes for the neutral.....even with peeks and pops of other colors.   So a couple of the darks in the upper right hand unit are a bit too brown to fit the light spot.   I decided to put them in as a dark fabric value.

         Then look at the lower left corner......I put that print in the dark spot of the arrangement.   Two reasons:
    •  1. Light background but enough of the dark print is showing....over 50%.  That pushed it to the dark slot for me.   
    •  2.  The  use of lower contrast--in this case, the background blends a lot---can give the element of surprise that pleases the eye.    In vintage quilts you often find fabrics arrangement like that.  It could have been luck, but I prefer to think they had a delightful sense of value and design :)

       Dark selection.....easy.  Dark to light, and again note that I throw some neutrals in that have some color to them, although the color is quite faint.   So for strong darks.....yes, use the random selection for a very scrappy look.  

       A very scrappy look, I say.  Guess you need to see what I mean.   
       This is what is on the design wall of the few blocks I put together already.   For my set/layout, I want the darks, big and small parts, moving up and to the right.  All the lights will be set to move to the left.  

      It doesn't look like much yet, but I love the look in real life!  You can get the idea of the unexpected  effect in some of the blocks.  

        And now that I have brought more confusion probably to this, I will just go sew a few 4 patches.   Happy stitching.

    Sunday, October 8, 2017

    From quilt show 2017 and QOV

    No automatic alt text available.
    Made by Shelia 

        From the Quilt Show  2017 style!
    I borrowed/stole a couple of photos of friends to share.

       Stained Glass Cathedral Window quilt was 12 years in the making.  This is a close up of part of the big, huge thing!   It has traveled with Shelia, been an ever-present take along project for so many years that she is sad it is finished.  Well, maybe not, because I saw a big grin on her face.  
      Working the Admissions Desk with Sarge was exhausting.  You have to know her to believe how much energy she consumes!  As a man was leaving the show he asked if any quilts were for sale.  There was one he was interested in.  Yep, this one.......Sarge priced it at "OH, about $20,000."    We had to giggle when he thought it was too much.

    No automatic alt text available.
    Made by Susan 
       Now, the story about Sarge.   
    She has grown as a quilter......
    from someone who said she  didn't do scrappy quilts  (afraid to use more than 3 fabrics  in a quilt) to a quilter who can finish  a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt  in style.  Her En Provence is  just beautiful!   

    I have to share these two.....just because:)  One made by Shelia from a workshop I did, and the other by Fannie.  Love them both!

      A highlight of the Saturday  at the Quilt show was the covering of 3 veterans by Quilts of Valor.  Word had spread about the ceremony and men began arriving.  

      This list of medals and service by this vet was amazing.....he served 3 tours.  

       The words Marietta read for the presentation of the quilts was so touching.  The line that really struck a chord was,  "A Quilt of Valor is the highest award a civilian can give a veteran in recognition of his service."

       The three recipients are here wrapped in their quilts, and flanked by the Honor Guard of SC, who escort  and honor veterans  in events on their motorcycles.  

       I was only able to do a quick tour of the rest of the show.....a bit too crowded for me to do photos....and my knee gave out.  So Susan took the QOV photos for me....thanks.
      Keep stitching. 
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