Sunday, June 23, 2019

Sunday Sundry 6-23-19

It's been awhile since I've done a post in the "Sunday Sundry" category, where I gather various odds and ends into a smorgasbord of sundry themes.  So let's do this thing.

Old Business

First, in the interest of closure, I did get the last Hands2Help flimsy quilted and sent off to Quilty Hugs earlier this month.  Norm took a couple minutes out of his yard work to hold the quilt up on the porch for a couple pictures of the front and back.  

Some close-ups. 

This was a great way to utilize 2.5-inch strips and went together fast.  Go back one post for the link to the tutorial, if you're interested in more details.  I'd definitely make one of these again.

Who Likes Leftovers?

I do, when it comes to both food and fabric.  Food-wise, it usually means I don't have to cook, which is a welcome change of pace.  Fabric-wise, it's a fun and creative challenge to make something on a smaller scale within the confines of the scraps from a bigger project.  I like the low pressure, who-cares-if-it-doesn't-work, but-it-might-be-awesome-if-it-does feeling of working with leftovers.

I had a couple orphan blocks left over from the Blooming String Baskets quilt, as well as some leftover triangle units in solid colors.  So I played around with positioning those this way and that, and came up with this table runner.

When it came to quilting it, I had no clear idea, so I started with just ditch quilting, and that led to a bunch of other straight lines.

Here's a fun, good to know tidbit:  Anybody who thinks straight-line quilting is taking the easy way out when it comes to finishing a project, has probably never buried three thousand thread ends!  Of course, I'm exaggerating the number (somewhat), but man oh man, the thread burying on this little ole thing! 

I'm happy with the end result, after all is said and done.  Yeah, so maybe it looks like the carnival has come to town, but it sure brightens up a room!  If it's too bright, I can always flip it over for a (kinda?) more subtle effect.

The next leftover project was with more solid scraps and remaining 2.5-inch strips from the quilt shown above.  I put together a few 16-patch blocks and came up with this little doll-size quilt.

My grand-niece has a birthday in a couple weeks, and I think she and her dollies might like this.

The back is from a vintage fitted crib sheet I found at a thrift store years ago.  It's so soft and sweet, and the perfect size to finish this little quilt.

Non-Sewing Related Gigs

I've been working on a different kind of project lately, and that is transcribing the many hours of conversations I recorded with my dad a year or so before he passed away.  

He's been gone a year and a half now, but I still think of him just about every day.  Sometimes it's just a passing thought.  Other times it's like a step back into a more painful kind of missing him all over again.  

(View from Dad's memorial bench overlooking the marsh near sunset.)
I think grief is like that.  It comes and goes, sometimes dull, sometimes sharp.  I'm no expert, but I think you just have to ride those waves, up and over, as many times as they roll in.  

When I've been out for my daily walks this summer, I've been relistening to those conversations.  Dad wanted to talk about his life, his stories from a young kid on.  When we covered most of that ground, we went through his photo albums and he talked about the people in the pictures.  I'd go over there once a week or so during 2016, with my digital recorder in hand, and hit the record button.

You might think relistening to those conversations would be painful, but I find they are anything but.  To hear his voice again, his stories, his laughter and mine co-mingling, is relaxing and comforting.

(Dad in 2014 - Quote by Scribbles & Crumbs/Lexi Behrndt)
My mom wrote down her stories about growing up and compiled them into a book that she then supplemented with pictures.  She gave each of us children a copy.  When she passed away unexpectedly, 10 years ago, we were all so glad she had done that.  

I think Dad wanted to do the same, but he didn't have the skills mom had when it came to typing it all into the computer and organizing it into a narrative.  I'd helped him edit the book he wrote in 2012 from his handwritten notes, so I think he wanted me to do something similar with his life story. He never asked me explicitly, but I got the drift that that's what he was wanting to do once we got started.  When I was working with him on his book writing project, it became obvious that "the rest of the story" was often in the details I teased out when seeking clarification of his written notes.  He was a great storyteller, and it seemed he recognized that his own story was going to have to come straight from the horse's mouth, as it were, with me asking questions along the way.

(Wild columbine along the bike trail, with "sparkles" of dandelion fluff.)
So now I'm starting to transcribe those long conversations.  I'm a transcriptionist by day, so it's not difficult work for me, just time-consuming.  And after hours of transcribing for my day job, I am usually pretty much over with sitting in front of a screen and typing any more than I have to.  However, last week I had a light workload for some reason, so I got started.

I tell you what, even though you may have heard your parents' or grandparents' stories being told time and time again, there's no way you're going to remember all the details.  And you may hear a snippet of a story here and there but never the whole thing.  In relistening and transcribing Dad's own words, I'm learning many "new" things, even though, technically, I've heard them before.  The overall scope of it is coming into better focus.

It is going to be wonderful to get this down in black and white for posterity, and to share it with the rest of the family.

Thrift Finds

So far this summer, there's been more going out of the house than coming in, which feels like a very good thing.  I've sold an old road bike, a camera, and an amplifier, among other things.  I've driven a couple trunk loads to Goodwill.  The circle of stuff, and all that.

But on Saturday, we happened by a nice thrift store where I sometimes find fabric, and once again, the trip did not disappoint.

That roll of pink fabric?  Five yards!  That'll make a nice backing some day.

Love the paisley print!  And that striped fabric may make a nice binding.

This gray (and black/white/red) fabric was definitely a vintage head-scratcher.  What is with those shapes, for one thing?  And feathers?  It was just too weird to pass up.  I tried Googling the name on the selvage but nothing came up.  Hmm...gotta love a good mystery!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Chain Link Quilt Top for H2H

"Bolder and Older" describes some of the fabrics in this quilt, the last of four made in the Hands2Help Challenge this year.

Bolder prints, including florals and feathers and swirls (oh my!).  Older, as in used a while ago and there's maybe just a smidge left, perfect for the few strips needed.  Or an older fabric that deserves a chance to be useful and appreciated, but in a limited dose (if you know what I mean).

That could mean a lot going on, but the background fabric provides enough space so they all seem to play nicely together, I think.  

Thanks to Meredith for the tutorial a couple weeks ago in a Hands2Help blog post.  When I saw that the quilt was set on point and read through the instructions, I realized I already had the right size setting triangles cut and ready to go!  They were the ones I had unsewn from the String Baskets quilt and replaced with a different fabric.  Serendipity!

From there, it was a no-brainer to cut some 2-1/2 inch strips and make a few of these fun, big blocks.

I actually used up the background fabric before I got to the border, but I found a remnant of off-white, tone-on-tone shooting stars in the stash.  Close enough for rock 'n roll!

I'll be quilting and finishing this in the next few days, and then it will go to Quilty Hugs as part of the H2H Comfort Quilt Challenge.

Linking to:  Confessions of a Fabric Addict - H2H Link Up

Friday, May 3, 2019

Blooming String Baskets Quilt Flimsy

I think this is it, friends.  This is the string basket flimsy ("Blooming String Baskets") as of today. 
I was going to add a narrow stop border and a six-inch outer border, but for the life of me, I couldn't see it working.  I pondered this, that, and the other thing.  Auditioned various fabric combinations, but nothing seemed quite right. 
Then I got out the tape measure, and as is, it's a respectable 65x85 (-ish), which I am content with.  Why add more fabric and more weight for me to fling off in the middle of the night, mid-hot flash?  (Keeping it real.)

Now I could see, perhaps, some fun applique in those tan setting triangles.  But right now, as far as a vision on that, I've got nothin'.  Maybe something will occur to me (or not) while this one waits in the quilting queue.  I'm open for suggestions.
(Mama Mallard on the neighbor's roof this morning.)
As far as the layout of this quilt, I considered a few options and put them in a Facebook post for people to weigh in on.  

The consensus seemed to be the one with the baskets oriented vertically (an on-point setting--the third one above), so that's how it went together.

And then, halfway through sewing it together, I decided that setting the entire thing with Kona Snow was way too much...Snow.  Which is how I've felt about late winter/early spring in general, coincidentally.
So I took apart half the quilt and recut the setting triangles in a straw basket-colored fabric (yes, that's the way my brain worked it out).  The new version, I think, contains the flower baskets as a central theme, instead of having them sitting in a drift of Snow.

My favorite thing about this quilt was piecing the string baskets themselves.  (I talked a bit about how I did that in THIS post.)  
The inspiration came from the "American Picnic" quilt in the book Simply Strings by Rana Heredia.

Piecing, in general, is what I like most about making a quilt.  Do you have a favorite part of the process?

Linking to:  
Humble Quilts:  Linky Up! String Quilt Progress!
Confessions of a Fabric Addict:  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?

Sunday, April 14, 2019

H2H Check-In

I have three quilts ready to donate for the Hands2Help Comfort Quilt Challenge!

The first two are baby quilts, made from orphan blocks left over from a quilt-along I petered out on a while back. 

I'm glad to have gotten them together and finished up in these past few weeks.  These will go to Jack's Basket.

The third is a scrappy string quilt made using Sarah's On-Line tutorial.  I quilted it a couple days ago with long vertical wavy lines.  

Simple but effective.  In fact, I love the effect!  I think I need to make another one to keep.  :)

(Back of On-Line quilt - using a border print in center.)
This one will go to Happy Chemo.

Linking to:  Confessions of a Fabric Addict - First Check-In

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Out of the Den

Wow, almost six weeks have passed since the last post.  Hold on a sec while I swipe the cobwebs and blow the dust off the old blog.  
(Reflection of backyard trees in the lid of a candle.)
Okay.  So where were we?  Looking back, there was the string baskets project, which has been in limbo, pretty much, since then.  I did receive a super nice squishy of solid scraps from Kevin the Quilter and made three more baskets with some pretty purples.
Other than that, though, the basket quilt has been temporarily sidelined.  I need to give some thought to layout (and I know I've been saying that but...squirrel!).  I'll get back to it soon, promise.

Meanwhile, around St. Patty's Day in March, I made a couple of four-leaf clover mug rugs as thank-you gifts.  And then, because they were just too cute and fun, I made one for myself!

The tutorial I followed can be found HERE.  Love the string pieced green leaves!

As many of you know, the Hands2Help Comfort Quilt Challenge is again in full swing.  I was inspired by Sarah's On-Line quilt and decided it would be the perfect quilt to make while simultaneously knocking down some of the scrap piles accumulating on flat surfaces in the sewing room.  Oh, all right, they're in drawers and bins, too.  Who am I kidding?
(Trimmings from On-Line)
Well, we quilters know how THAT goes!  Somehow, scraps and strings beget more scraps and strings.  I know I've made some headway, though, hard as it is to see visual proof in the scrap piles.  But there is visual proof of the resulting quilt top!  At 60 x 72, I have to have made a good dent, right?

(On-Line quilt top)
It's crazy how all those disparate strings can look just fine together when all is said and done.  I've banged together a backing as well, so this one is ready to baste and finish soon.

While sifting through the scrap piles, I unearthed some orphan blocks from a quilt-along that I petered out on last year.  Several sampler blocks in, the proposed layout was made available, and let's just say my fabric choices didn't seem to play well next to each other so much anymore.  And with that, my desire to finish the quilt-along fizzled.  Wah-wah-wah.
(Baby Quilt 1 from orphan blocks)
But looking at the orphan blocks in a new light this past week, I was able to assemble two decent baby quilts that I'll donate to one or more of the Hands2Help charities.  Woot!
(Baby Quilt 2 from a large orphan block, pin basted)
I'm in the process of quilting and binding them right now.  I'll post pics of the finishes shortly.

Friends, it's been a long, cold, and cruddy winter, and I feel like I'm coming out of hibernation here. This was our deck a few days after the last rain/ice/sleet/wind/snow/thunder/lightning storm (all within 24 hours).  The ice was blowing off the trees into millions of little shards on the snow.

(Buh-bye snow.  It's been real.)
Now the snow has melted and the robins are back.  I've been for more walks outside, versus the basement treadmill, and bike season is just around the corner.  I see the first new growth of green things, my chives, poking up in the flower bed.  

What has you excited for spring?

Linking to:  
Humble Quilts String-Along 
Confessions of a Fabric Addict Can I Get a Whoop-Whoop? 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Progress and Thrift Finds

Work on the string basket blocks has continued, amounting to a total of 17 so far.  Here they all are on the design wall.

I may make a few more.  I have enough string basket bases cut for at least three more blocks (and there are a lot more shirt strings where those came from), but I'm running low on many of the solid scraps.  For each block, I used three different variations on that color scheme (three oranges, three pinks, etc.).  For the last aqua/blue block, though, I had to sub in a periwinkle solid.  It seems to have worked out.

I'm going to let the project sit for a bit, and we'll see where it goes eventually.  Still not sure if I'll end up setting them like this, or with some kind of sashing between, or turned completely differently.  To be determined...

Meanwhile, I cleaned up the string mess (you know how that can just take over a sewing space, right?), and I got back around to finishing up another quilt top.  Also made with thrifted shirts.

This was tricky to photograph in the house on this dreary winter day.  It's one of those quilts that's cozier feeling in real life and less—what's the word—discombobulated? 

I do like how it's turned out and am working on making the backing for it now.  That will also be from thrifted fabric, as it happens.  Not shirts, though. 

Speaking of that, we got out of the house yesterday (it's been a wild, wild winter lately; cabin fever is real, y'all).  We took a short drive to a neighboring town and hit the St. Vinny's there.

While I perused the fabric and craft section of the store, Norm wandered off and picked up a beautiful cougar!

She was super cheap (three bucks!), so of course we brought her home.  :)

She needs a little bath (the glass and frame), but with a tiny bit of TLC, she'll be good to go.  Or stay, as it were. 

I've got quite a collection of vintage paint-by-numbers, but it's still a thrill to find one, especially if it's well done, when we're out thrifting.  We've noticed we don't see them nearly as often as we used to.  I just checked eBay to see what the online market is like for these lately, and it looks like they have an identical cougar paint-by-number currently for $79.99.  Note to anyone who may have to clean out someone's attic, basement or garage:  Don't throw these in the dumpster thinking they're junk.  At least drive them to the thrift store where they can be joyfully found by the next PBN collector or nostalgic lover of kitsch!

Meanwhile, back in the fabric and crafts section, I had found a half yard of fabric and a nice hardcover quilt book from the mid-1990s.

Just look at these sweet quilts!

This Birds in the Air pattern really has a vintage vibe to it, doesn't it?  Love it.

And Sunflowers, yellow and blue is such a classic combination.

It's always a great day when you can go shopping with a ten dollar bill and come home with such fun finds and $4 in change!