Friday, May 31, 2013

H2H Quilt Finish

The Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge is in its final leg, and my goal was to finish my H2H quilt this week.  Mission accomplished!

This will go to Quilty Hugs for Happy Chemo, an ongoing project of Emily of Em's Scrapbag.  I am happy to be sending it off for such a good cause, but also a teensy bit sad to see it go.  I really like this quilt!

I used the pattern Criss-Cross Quilt by Sandi at Piecemeal Quilts, which is a free PDF download.  It was great for using up some colorful scraps.  I may just have to make another one.

(The Back)
I will be linking up with H2H Finishes at Confessions of a Fabric Addict in a few days, and also to A Stitch in Time 2013 Finishes for May and Link-A-Finish Friday.  There's always plenty of quilt eye candy to browse!

May Finishes

H2H 2013 logo

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Memory Lane

I have an old quilt to show you below, but first I need to vent a little.  Not that there is anything anyone can do (except slip me a Xanax), but here goes.  

We live on a quiet street one block off the main drag in this city.  It's a bit of a winding street on a rolling hill, no curb, gutter or sidewalk.   The city just oils and pea gravels the street every few years to keep it relatively intact.  On my daily walks, I deal with an occasional car, which usually gives me generous berth (see: no sidewalk). 

Well, yesterday was the official beginning of road construction season.

Said main avenue is getting fixed for a several block stretch, which is all well and good in the end.  But traffic has been diverted and guess who doesn't live on a quiet street anymore?  There is a constant stream of vehicles out my front door.  And the background music to all this is made by some ginormous hammering machinery that is busting up the old concrete on the main thoroughfare.  It sounds like a marching band with a hung over drum section that can't get its stuff together.

There.  I feel a little better.  Then again, it may be because the drum section just went on break.  Maybe they'll find a rhythm and stick to it after knocking back some Joe and Krispy Kremes.

Moving on.  

Guess what my sister found last week while sorting through boxes, getting ready to move?  A quilt from our childhood!  I wish I could say "my old quilt," because I've been searching for it for a few decades, but I can't tell whether the one she found was mine or hers.  

We had matching quilts on our twin beds, made by Mom.  I used to be able to tell them apart because hers was a couple years older, a bit more worn, and had a slightly different red fabric in the sashing.  But after all these years and without the other for comparison, we don't rightly know.  I thought she had left hers behind when she moved from California back home, but she thinks this may be it, in which case mine is still MIA.

It is in totally "loved up" condition.  Weathered and worn, tattered and torn.  I've soaked and gently washed and dried it.  Some of the stains came out, not all.  But beyond that and the overall yellowing, the fabric is simply falling apart.  The funny thing is, this quilt (circa 1961) has a polyester batting that remains in excellent condition.

Still, I love looking at the fabrics in the dresdens (or sunflowers, as Mom called them) almost as much now as I did back when the quilt covered whichever one of us nightly.  

Each block is entirely pieced, not appliqued.  There are 20 "blades" per block—that's 20 Y-seams for the small white pieces that occupy the space between the pointed ends of each blade.  Then the whole circular plate is set into the outer part of the square, which is pieced in four segments.  It is hand quilted.

I found the pattern templates for this block a few years ago as I was going through Mom's things (blogged here).  I don't know why she didn't mail the letter, but it's nice to have that bit of provenance in her own words.

So this is one of the quilts that started my lifelong fascination with fabric.  In the early morning light, before the school day began, I'd study that quilt.  Something to keep in mind when you give someone one of your works.  You may be fostering a budding artist or sewist (or architect or math teacher...).

I'm happy to foster this old quilt for a while again as it has come back to roost.  Here's to a happy homecoming!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Abstract Mini

This mini came about over the weekend from some interesting scraps on the cutting table, which looked like they wanted to be together in an abstract kind of way.

Nick seemed to like it when I gave it to him yesterday.  He had requested something to eat lunch on at his desk.  

I didn't think the gold embellished fabrics would be out of place at a bank, but if he gets tired of that side, he can flip it over.  I discovered yesterday that he's the "plaid guy" at work, so I now have a better idea for version 2.0.

It is quilted in geometric shapes which sort of remind me of retro pendant lamps.  I used a variegated Sulky thread on top and white Aurifil in the bobbin.

While shopping at Wally-World the other day, I noticed a sale bin in the aisle by the fabric department with bolts at two dollars a yard.  I haven't bought much fabric from there in the past couple years, but two bucks a yard?  I couldn't resist poking around.  Wouldn't you know, I found a few fun prints to come home with me.  Doesn't a snakeskin print binding sound fun?

The woman cutting my fabric was a quilter and gave me the name of a man nearby who does long-arm quilting since he retired as an engineer.  She sends all her quilts to him and said he does beautiful work.  Good to know!

A priority this week is to finish quilting the H2H donation quilt and get it sent off.  I'm about two-thirds of the way done, and then it needs binding and a label.

Yesterday was the annual Memorial Day/Dad's Birthday Party cookout.  It was overcast and cool (we could see our breath!), but we stayed cozy between the fire pit and the garage.  Russ and Darrell entertained with a few tunes.  I even learned a couple chords on Russ's mandolin.  Always a good time!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sum Total

This is all I have managed as far as sewing this past week.  I made a couple of blocks for Julie's "Sessanta Stella" (60 Stars) birthday celebration quilt.

She asked for star blocks with peacock colors.  I wasn't sure if the orange would overpower the one (but I *heart* that metallic feather print so much), so I made another one just in case with some batiks.  And they're in the mail!

Do you know what else warms my heart?  The fact that my daughter's dear boyfriend asked me to make him a mini that he can use when he eats lunch at his desk.  He mentioned it as I tossed one of my minis on the table a couple weeks ago to set under a hot pan.  "I could use one of these," he said.

"Really??  I can do that!"  (Excited much? Yep!)  I don't have anything together for it just yet, but I'm playing with some scraps that may turn into something.

In the realm of distractions, I joined Pinterest after a long and ultimately futile resistance.  I am not sure what I'm doing but am having fun pinning a few things for now.  I started with some of my older bookmarks (because let's face it, once I bookmark it, it's out of sight and out of mind).  On Sunday, I got really distracted adding to my "Hot in Here" board.  Ahem.  Maybe soon I'll figure out how to add a gadget on the right sidebar, but for now, you can find me floundering around here.

Something else that grabbed my attention today was this new-to-me band, Vintage Trouble (love that name).  What a cool throwback sound.  Here's an upbeat song and then a different one with some especially nice vocals.

Happy almost-the-weekend!  I'm looking forward to a big outdoor flea market on Sunday, and the weather is looking just about perfect for it so far.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival Spring 2013

Welcome!  I am excited to share a special quilt with you for Blogger's Quilt Festival.  I know there is a lot of quilty goodness to see on all the many links for the quilt festival hosted by Amy's Creative Side, and I appreciate your stopping here for a bit.  I'd love it if you'd say hi in the comments.

The story of this quilt starts with me doing some cleaning (it gets more exciting, trust me) last October.  In the process of decluttering my basement space where I sew, I moved a big green Rubbermaid storage tote out of the way, which had come from my late mother's house a few years before.  I wasn't sure what was in it but figured probably more stuff to haul to Goodwill.  Boy, was I wrong!

Inside the container was an old quilt top, which I recognized by its handiwork as having been made by my grandmother, Lillian, probably back in the late 1960s or early 1970s.

Grandma Lillian C., early 1970s, Louisiana.
Grandma loved to sew, and even when her eyesight faded in her later years, she continued to find a way to piece quilts.  She used just about everything in the way of fabric and scraps.  I even have a quilt she made of polyester double knit hexagons, if you can imagine that.

Grandma's quilt top, c. late 1960s/early 1970s.
This particular quilt top that I found was bold and colorful, which is just how I like 'em.  I think Grandma and I were "cut from the same cloth" in that way.

I had never seen this quilt top before, and I wondered how long my mom had it.  Had Grandma made it with one of her grandchildren in mind?  She was known to do that, and since she lived a thousand miles away on the other side of the country (and perhaps because of her eyesight and/or other reasons), she might send a quilt top to Mom and rely on it being quilted and finished on the receiving end.  As I looked closely at the various fabrics and handled it, I understood perhaps why Mom had put it away and didn't rush to finish it.  There are some challenges to be sorted out, for sure.  But on the whole, there's a lot of love in this quilt, and I think it's beautiful and inspirational, like my grandma.

Mom and Grandma, late 1960s, Wisconsin.
The block pattern really intrigued me.  I mentioned in my post about finding the quilt that I wanted to try making the block if I could find a pattern.  It is entirely pieced, not appliqued.  I hadn't seen anything quite like it, but I thought I might find it in one of my older reference books (no such luck). 

And here is where I tell you what you already probably know:  Fellow quilt bloggers are the best!  Within a very short time of that post, Sandi of Piecemeal Quilts drew up the block in her quilt design program, based on the photos I'd posted, and sent me a PDF complete with templates.  How amazing and wonderfully generous is that!

Two days later, I sent Sandi a photo of the test block I'd made.  Though I didn't have a whole lot of experience piecing curves, it all worked out beautifully.  The block was square and true to size and lay flat and smooth.  I was thrilled!

Sandi responded by showing me a sample quilt layout she had created "just playing around" with the blocks set on point.  It was simply gorgeous, and I knew I had to make it.  Over the next few days, we chatted by email about fabric choices and other possibilities.  This was going to be so much fun!

I got started on this quilt right away, and except for the almost-fiasco where I knocked a cup of coffee onto it in the final hours of assembly, it went together really well.  I finished the quilt top in early January and sent it off to be quilted.

Sandi did the quilting on her longarm.  She filled in the white space with freehand leaves and swirls and did parallel quilting in the cross pieces of the blocks.  So pretty!  When she was done, Sandi, her mom, and her aunt made the couple-hour drive to delivered it in person, so we finally got to meet!

The fabrics I used are from the Vintage Modern line by Bonnie and Camille for Moda.  I loved the turquoise and red color combination.  The soft floral prints have a soft, vintage feel, while the overall quilt has a contemporary look.  

Quilt Specifics
Quilt measures:  80 x 80 inches
Special techniques used:  Curved piecing from templates
Quilted by:  Sandi Walton
Blogger's Quilt Festival Category: Bed Quilt

I'd like to make another one of these, maybe a wild and scrappy version next time around. I think Grandma would be tickled!

Would you like to give it a try?  Stay tuned, because I will be doing a tutorial on how to make the four-lily block in the coming weeks, and I hope you'll join me for that.  In addition, Sandi and I are finishing the pattern for this quilt, which should be available in the near future, as well.

Updated March 2023:  The Thoroughly Modern Lily quilt pattern is available as a free PDF HERE. Click the download symbol on the page that opens.

Custom acrylic templates for the Four-Lily block used in making this quilt are available at DMP Engraving

Tutorial for the Four-Lily Block can be found on the Tutorials tab at the top of the blog.

Thanks so much for taking time to visit, and I hope you will stop back again soon!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Cool Things

Yesterday's post didn't happen, having been preempted by other things.  Instead, I started gathering my thoughts for Blogger's Quilt Festival, which starts tomorrow.

My brothers, Russ and Darrell, 1966.
See you then.  I'll have something cool to share!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

8 Tracks

I am trying out this new dealio called 8tracks, which allows you to stream music and make playlists that you can share.  Sort of like Pandora, which I like a lot too, but this seems easier to figure out how to embed a playlist.

This is a mix of songs as they appeared on my mp3 player this morning during my walk.  The player was apparently in alphabetical playback mode, and I had just finished listening to a chapter from Thoreau's "Walden," when it launched into these, all having the words "walk" or "walking" in the song title.  I thought it was an appropriate, eclectic mix for the occasion.  There's even a short poem in there.  Use the buttons to skip through tracks, if you want.  Kinda fun!

Time to to go to work.  Back with more in the realm of sewing, etc. tomorrow. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Rose Mini

I decided to try making some roses using a helpful how-to from sophie junction (see her "Freebies" tab).  It was fun to play around, especially after having made only a couple of rather unexciting but functional quilt backs this past week.

On the first attempt, I made a pinkish-red rose.  Then some interesting peachy-yellow bits in the scrap bag caught my eye.

This was then completed with a green background and quilted as a mini.  Yay, something finished!  Who cares if it's only10 or 11 inches square?  It'll be a nice mat under a vintage pot, whenever I get around to potting up something.

I did some pebble quilting in the center, which got old in a hurry, because I couldn't see my stitching very well against the fabric without taking off my glasses and putting my nose dangerously near the quilting foot.  Picture that.  Yep, it was comical.

* * * * *
I am happy to report that the grass was long enough for its first mowing this weekend.

(Image Source)
Believe me, Norm was hardly as excited as this little guy, but isn't he adorable?  

* * * * *
Mama mallard was back in the yard, checking out the real estate.  Daddy duck stayed on the ground, securing the perimeter.  

There is no nest in the tree; she was just measuring rooms and flushing toilets.  

Right after I turned off my camera, a squirrel scuttled up the tree and scared the quack out of her, and off she flew.  She may have an issue with the neighbors barging in unannounced.

Yesterday the weather was just ducky, and my sister and I took a six-mile evening walk along the marsh.  Oh, I wish I'd have taken my camera.  I've borrowed this photo to give you an idea.

(Image Source)
A gorgeous pink sunset illuminated the water.  A thin haze of smoke from a small controlled burn blurred the scene just enough to make it surreal.  I can't think of a better visual finale to the weekend!  How was yours?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Spring's A-Poppin!

Finally!  The snow is gone, the grass is green, my daffodils are dancing in the sunshine.

And check out the thermometer yesterday.  Today is more of the same.

Time to toss the gloves and hats to the back of the closet, sort out the summer clothes (and realize you need to walk off those few pounds that have settled around your midsection while you waited out winter).

In quilty stuff, I finished the Hands2Help quilt top.

And a backing for it, making use of an overabundance in same color scheme of Denyse Schmidt fabrics in the stash.  But can there really be too much blue and green?  (Apparently so.)

Finding new music is always fun, too.  Today me and the daffodils feel like Tom Keifer at 26 seconds into this song from his debut solo albumYEAH!!!