Sunday, February 18, 2018

Done, thank goodness!

I had been putting off binding the car caddy because I knew I'd have to do the last bit by hand.  It has something like "soft and stable" in it and it's rather bulky.  The directions say to machine stitch it, but the ends are a little bulky unless one changes needles in mid-stream.  Yesterday was a sunny day, so I pushed on to finish.  No more excuses!
It passes the "galloping horse" rule and will, I'm sure, be useful when we go on day or longer car trips.  There are lots of pockets inside and out, including a zippered one on the end.   I will take the pattern to guild on Tuesday because I never want to make another one.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Quilting the gray quilt

I finished pinning the Gray Fence Rail Star quilt I'm making for Bennett yesterday and did some anchoring quilting.  Now I'm working on the real quilting.
Using my walking foot, I'm outlining the star in each block and then quilting a star burst.  I'm not good at doing straight lines by eye, so I use painters tape.  I will leave the centers unquilted for now as I'm not sure what I'll do with them.  I'm thinking a star shape, perhaps free motioned through Golden Threads Quilting Paper.  Then, of course, there's the border to do.  But I'll ponder all that while I'm working on the individuals blocks.  Quilting - unless it turns frustrating - is quite a meditative activity.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Are you and your sweetheart doing anything special today?

We are going to yoga as usual and I'll cook a "special" dinner tonight - Paul selected meatloaf from the choices I gave him.  In winter, it's a little iffy to go out.  In the past, our friends Pauline and Bob would often come from NY state and stay at our B&B around this time and we'd all celebrate together.  But now they have retired to VT, so we get together more often.   In fact, they're coming to the library winter banquet and auction March 3.

Paul gave me some truffles and I gave him some All Sorts this morning.  Neither of us "needs" candy, but we have sweet teeth that must be fed.  We also have concert tickets to see "Hot Rize" at the Opera House on Friday night, which is sure to be special.  One of my favorite performers, Tim O'Brien, is part of that group.

The quilt you see was made of swap blocks last year along with a mini-charm pack and some additional squares.  I gave it to an old friend from high school who goes for dialysis every week.  Her efforts have kept our huge high school class (618 graduates) together over 50 years.  

I am especially grateful for my family today, remembering my Tante Jen who passed away some years ago on this day.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Snow day

As predicted, we had about 8-10" of snow yesterday, beginning at around 10 in the morning.    We were well prepared with projects AND food.  In the morning, our friend and neighbor Manny came over with his digital projector for a run-through of Paul's historical talk next week.  I get to run the PowerPoint while he talks, and Manny, bless his heart, will be there for moral support.  He has been a great help with photos and historical tidbits.   We now have it all narrowed down to about 20 min.   After we finished, Paul and I had pancakes for lunch - quite a treat!

Between all this, I decided to start making some of the Missouri Star swap blocks rather than working on UFOs.   I had just written out new instructions for the group that I needed to test.  The link we were using was no longer live.  I made seven of these not-so-easy blocks and hope to get the other seven done in the next few days.  They're all cut out.  Maybe I'll finish this batch today or tomorrow.  It is meant to be a scrap buster with a gray background - my grays are getting depleted.

I will probably make a second batch in a slightly different colorway, with gray at the center.  But I want to finish Bennett's quilt and my wool appliqued piece first.

I've been reading The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, Age 83 1/4, a fictional story of life in a Dutch nursing home.  It's been translated into 30 languages, including English, and is apparently a hot item in libraries all over the world.  I find myself translating some of the expressions back into Dutch as I read, and it is funny and sweet at the same time.   My mom hadn't heard of it, so I ordered a copy sent to her - this is what is so nice about Amazon.com.


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Next on my to-do list

I have been working on the wool appliqued block, about 20" square, since before Christmas.  It's made of scraps of wool, a small wool charm pack I bought last summer, and a piece of gray cotton.  I tried to do some fancier embroidery stitches which you can't see in the photo.  The pattern is by Kim Diehl and appeared in a magazine (American Patchwork and Quilting?) a few weeks before I started.  I think my friend Jan is working on the same in cottons, but doing the whole quilt.  This week I hope to design a border of purple scraps and get it ready for quilting as a wallhanging.

To the right of the block are some scrappy rose squares made in December based on a book by Karen Eckmeier.  I thought I might make some every month out of different colored scraps and put them together at the end of the year.  I am never good at keeping to those block of the month plans, so we'll see how it goes!

The gray quilt for Bennett is coming along.  I finished the big center which measures 54" square, and I have made pinwheel blocks using cut-offs from the squares.  I'll use those for a border to get the quilt up to at least 65" square, but I need to take a little inventory of my grays first.   I have another project - a swap of Missouri Star blocks - that needs grays also.

It is good to have all these projects in the queue because our weather seems to have taken a snowy turn.  It snowed all day Sunday, it's snowing right now, and a big storm is predicted for tomorrow.  I ran out to the store for provisions.  We are prepared! 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Changed my mind!

How often do you have a vision for a quilt and then decide to take a completely different path?  My quilts often are done on whim, and Bennett's high school graduation quilt is no exception.  I got out all my gray scraps and a few fat quarters I just bought, along with some light blues to tone down the monotony.  I was about to get out my die cutter to begin on the tumblers when I remembered the guild block of the month, Fence Rail Star, and decided to investigate it further.  I missed the last guild meeting, but I guess Lynn got the pattern from the Missouri Star Quilt Co.   I watched bits of the tutorial (linked above), and the possibility of hidden stars among the grays appealed to me, especially because each block finishes at 18".  Here are the first four:

I plan to do a little special quilting to make the stars stand out a little more.   But that's down the road a bit.  I have all the rails put together and am taking a break before making the star pieces.   For these, you just sew diagonally across 4" squares, cut, and flip.  I am making half square triangles out of the pieces I cut off so that makes it go a bit slower.  But maybe I'll incorporate those into the border.  We'll see where whim takes me.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

In a quandary

I am in the process of binding the final edges of the **^%$! caddy for the car, and it is ten degrees below zero today although we expect the sun to peek out eventually.  So no photos of finished projects, once again.

As I go through "life" lately, I've been thinking of what to make for Bennett's high school graduation quilt.  It's hard to believe he is that old!  His mom, Jen, asked him what his favorite color is - gray, LOL!  So I have a bunch of grays and a little blue to mix in.  I'm thinking of a low volume quilt.  And will he really care how intricate the piecing is?   Should I simply cut out tumblers with my die cutter and put them together randomly?  Should I make a bunch of larger blocks, say 18"?   It will be couch-sized, maybe 70" x 70" at the most.

I went to Pinterest and found quite a few photos of tumbler quilts.  This one has a little more blue and white than I envision but it seems to fit my plan for a random arrangement.  What would happen if I cut out a bunch of tumblers, put them in a bag, and simply drew out one at a time and attached them?   Well, I'll have to do a little math and a little more thinking while I bind the caddy.

I am also waiting for a shipment of wrestling and other t-shirts from Michelle for Paul's other great nephew, Drew, who's graduating.  His favorite colors are green and brown which I'll use for some straight-forward sashing.  

And finally my brother's younger daughter, Evelyn, is also graduating.  She has already received a couple of quilts from me in her lifetime, so I am thinking of a draw-string backpack or pillow for her room at college.  Guess I have my work cut out for me in the next few months!