Sunday, April 30, 2017

Small projects

There's something to be said for making smaller pieces.  Because they get done quickly, there's a nice sense of accomplishment.  Yesterday, I finished two things - how often can I say that?!? 

First, there was a little wallhanging I made for Cindy to give Taylor, a new graduate of Cornell's School of Veterinary Medicine.  Taylor has a gray cat and loves horses, so I looked through my pattern books.  Couldn't find a paper pieced horse, but Janet Kime's It's Raining Cats and Dogs is always good for a cute cat or dog pattern. 

I had  a very nice Laurel Burch fat quarter that I used for the back, binding, and collars, and then I rummaged around for some gray.  I love the background fabric, and added the star just to give it a "wish upon a star" feeling.  Taylor really worked hard to get through a demanding curriculum. 

This was fun to do and only took a couple of hours.  Most of the time was spent changing out presser feet - sewing, walking foot, free motion foot, etc.  Gave me a chance to clean the machine in between, too.  I sewed two triangles to the upper corners so that it can be hung on a wall with thumb tacks.   And then there was the embroidery and beading - not my favorite thing to do, but done!

I was on a roll, so I made a little blue batik zippered bag for Polly's birthday tomorrow.  We're meeting her at Quechee Gorge for lunch May 8 and have a gift certificate to Keepsake Quilting for her.  The bag is just a cute way to wrap it.  I machine quilted the bag, which measures about 6" x 9". 

On tap today:  figure out how to set a bunch of  multi-colored 12" scrappy heart blocks.  Yes, another bigger project!

Sunday, April 16, 2017


I'm a sucker for swaps!  It's so much fun to get those little packages of blocks in the mail.  This year I'm participating in several:
  • Be My Neighbor - a Moda block of the week from 2016.  I think there are 16 blocks, so each of the 8 people participating made 2 blocks, which are fairly large.  Every block had to have a little yellow in it.  My two have gone to the hostess and she'll swap them out in June.
  • "Back to Our Roots" - my online swap group began as a group to swap blocks from Sylvia's Bridal Sampler, by Jennifer Chiaverini.  We are to make sets of five of the same 6" block and mail them in by the end of August.  I'm the hostess, and so far I've made five sets.  Here's one of my Orange Peel blocks, using a charm pack of William Morris prints.  I keep thinking about making more, but I got side-tracked making some blocks in the Moda "Blockheads" block of the week program.   And as hostess, I keep thinking maybe I'll make a block for each person participating?  Not sure.
  • A "block robin" in one of my local guilds (I belong to two).  We pass a bag of fabric we've chosen around all year until the big reveal in June.  Each of us is making two blocks per person this year.  I told people I don't care what size the blocks are, as I plan to make a quilt with a variety of sizes.  I'll combine these with the guild blocks of the month and some others I've made.
  • A row robin with my online group.  Our first rows aren't due to the next person until fall, but I am not gathering fabrics and thinking a lot about the bookshelf quilt I'm planning.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

"Dutch Treat" reboot

I started working on Dutch Treat earlier this year but found the white I had chosen raveled too much.  I hunted around for some off-white batik and got some blue, too.  The blocks are reverse appliqued, so the blue is behind the off-white.  My three earlier blocks were all sorts of colors which was nice, but I thought I might only do a small number of the blue blocks.  Here's what I finished this week.

There are 146 4" blocks in the quilt, much like Dear Jane.  Because each block takes at least two hours to do, I don't know how much time I'll devote.  I do have four more prepared for applique, and we'll see how I feel after those are done.  The batik is easier to needle turn, and I can make much smaller stitches.  Not all of the blocks in the book are Dutch-related, but I doubt if I'll have the patience to do them all anyway.

And what will happen to the earlier blocks?   I have put them in with the other orphans for projects along the way - potholders?  a table runner?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Quilting, albeit slowly

Because my recent back problems seem to be finally getting better, I decided that I wouldn't overdo sandwiching the 365 Challenge-inspired quilt.  It's about 80" x 80" so took a little finagling as I pin-basted it on the double bed in my sewing room.  It takes a lot of care to do it in a way that avoids puckers on the back.  I started the process Sunday, taking breaks to read and work on hand appliqueing my "reboot" of the Dutch Treat blocks, this time with cream batik on the top and blue batik on the bottom.

It was all ready to quilt by Tuesday noon, so I started what will be several weeks of quilting.  (And I finished one DT block and started on a second one).  First, I went around the borders, and now I'm filling some in.  I often don't know what I'm going to do until I start handling the quilt.  So I begin with straight lines and think about further designs while quilting.  It often depends on how the quilt handles, although lately I having been using Quilters Dream Select which is very easy to maneuver.  I will probably stipple the center and crosshatch the outer border.  But what about the borders in between?  We'll have to wait and see! 

Yesterday I got no sewing done at all due to a library board meeting, grocery shopping, and a chiropractor appointment.  I spent a bit of time this morning before heading to an elderly neighbor's to pick up 9 boxes of books for the library booksale which Paul and I delivered after that.   It is nice to be able to take my time quilting when the mood strikes.  I have also revised my expectations of how many DT blocks I'll be able to do.  If I can get a nice wallhanging or table runner out of the blocks, I will be happy.  Each block takes enormous concentration and fairly bright light to work on.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sunny days = photos!

On Saturday, it snowed, but on Sunday and Monday, it was warm and sunny.  Most of our snow is gone now, so we could finally get out and take some photos.  Here's the scrappy squares quilt I finished a week ago:
I love it, but I am still learning how to edit photos using our new photo program.  Could not get the granite step out of the finished photo.   Still, I took a closeup and a photo of the back in order to list it for sale at my etsy shop, Cobble Hill Quilts. 

Friday, April 7, 2017


I've been working on the Moda "Blockheads" block of the week for the past few weeks.  They are all 6" blocks, but one week I cut out a 9" one by mistake.  This week's block had a lot of fussy little pieces, so I made it 9" also.  I figure I can put these blocks together with the ones from a swap I'm in for a bigger quilt.  So I may continue to make 9" blocks now and then and fit them all together with scraps.  It all depends on what the swap blocks look like.

My blockheads blocks are partly made with some historical reproduction fabrics from the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum.  I'm using shirtings and plain creams to go with the swap blocks.  So far, I like them:

Monday, April 3, 2017

Making progress

I've been quilting a scrappy throw (58" x 58") over the past week, and today I hope to do a few more rounds on the borders before binding it.  I usually machine stitch the binding of anything that I suspect will be machine washed.  Will post a photo when it's finished - it's incredibly colorful, representing a large number of 2.5" squares from my stash.

Next up is quilting a little wall hanging that I made with a panel Carol gave me and a bunch of orphan blocks.  I have some lime green thread I got in an auction that I am thinking of using with it.  Will I have the courage to use it?  And... to bind or to face?  We'll see!  

After that, I plan to work on the blue/green scrappy medallion quilt inspired by the 365 challenge last year.  I may need to use the table at the Old Labor Hall to sandwich it.  For smaller quilts, the double bed in the guest room works OK, yet the big table at the OLH is so much faster.  Not sure how I'll quilt it but I'll think about it as I sandwich.  I have the batt and am waiting for the back for it and one more top, another scrappy throw.  I'll quilt that eventually, in a quick, modern style (straight lines across).

All this is to make way for some swap blocks coming in the door - the scrappy heart blocks are already here, but I'm expecting guild block robin blocks in June, Be My Neighbor in June, and then some Sylvia's Bridal Sampler blocks at the end of the summer.  Phew!