Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Les Pensées de Grandma

Les Pensées de Grandma.  It can translate either to "Grandma's Pansies" or "Thoughts of Grandma".  I love that.  I'll forever connect pansies to my maternal grandmother.  I have such memories of picking tiny bouquets with her and having little vases on the breakfast table.

Just to clarify, she didn't speak French.  I made the connection between "pansies" and "thoughts" somewhere along the line of my study of the language.  I really liked that.

So ... somewhere back in time, I pieced this quilt top:


Kind of cute. I kept thinking about my grandmother as I pieced the pansies.  I had to work her into the quilt name.

I learned a lot in the process, the most important lesson being DO NOT USE CHEAP FABRIC!!!!!

Yeah. See that darker lattice work?


That wasn't in Plan A. The cheap fabric that I used in parts of the quilt FRAYED. Badly. Why? Well, that's another lesson. I thought it would be a good idea to tea-dye it -- some of the fabrics were just too "out there". Not the best idea I've ever had.

Plan B was to sew a 1/4 strip along the seams of the sashing to look like lattice work and to cover where the fabs frayed. Not a bad plan.

Where did I make this? In Korea? That would be mid-90s. I know I purchased the cheaper fabs when we lived in Montgomery, Alabama. Maybe I pieced it there and moved on to Plan B when we were in Korea? Anyway, I machine-sewed one side of the lattice on and the plan was to hand sew the other side on. Ha ha ha. No wonder it's been in the "please finish me" pile so long. I did start back then. Maybe a few moves got in the way? I don't know.

I do need some handwork to do right now, so ...


I think I'm only going to do the more delicate areas by hand. Plan B came to be pre-Bernina. There's no reason I can't finish it by machine. Except for this area:


Well, rats. I think that's the only flower with an issue.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do there, but I'll come up with Plan C.

Is there a point where you just decide the whole thing could stay as an un-quilted top?  UGH!!!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Remember This One!?!

Hi, everyone!  I practiced some straight line quilting last week on this small quilt:


Remember that one? Yeah. I don't, either. I mean, I do ... but I don't. Yikes. It's been in my "please finish me" pile WAY too long. I know they are pieces left over from making a Civil War era reproduction quilt ... but which one, I could not say.

 When young girls were learning to quilt back in the mid-1800s, it would have been common to save leftover blocks for them to put together for a doll quilt -- just for practice. Since I really need to practice actually sewing a straight line, I thought it was appropriate.


Maggie was right there with me, every step of the way. What a good puppy!

I'm fairly confident doing wavy lines now, but straight ones? What happened to my ability to sew perfectly straight lines? I did get better as I went, but it was a tough slog. Here's a look at the back:

I do remember tea-dying the fabric.  LOL.  

It was great practice. It also reminded me how much I loved working with Civil War repro fabrics.

The binding will follow soon. Right now, I'm working on some hand appliqué from the aforementioned "please finish me" pile. I'll show you soon.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, February 23, 2019

The Bird Is A Word

Hi, everyone!  While it feels SO very good to finish old projects and try to make a dent in my scrap baskets, I also have this need to start new things.  Truly, though, this was made from scraps - just not long strips like so many of the other projects I've done lately.

I have no idea where I'm going with this, but ...

"A-well-a ev'rybody's heard about the bird
B-b-b-bird, b-birdd's a word...
...A-well-a don't you know about the bird?
Well, everybody knows that the bird is a word!..."

Sorry. I had the song stuck in my head while I was making it.

Thanks for reading!

PS:  To make this block, I followed the tute at this link (click here).

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Two Finishes!

Hi, everyone!  Sorry for the delay in posting, but I have lots to show you today!  I'll try to cut the chit-chat to a minimum.

First up - I finished the X Plus Table Runner!


I'm very pleased with how it came out!


I can see it spending a lot of time right there on my dining room table.

I've also been working hard sewing the binding on the big X Plus Quilt! I told you that I had pieced the binding - more scrappy than even normal for me - so I had to be very careful about where those seams would fall. If they are too close to a corner, it's a nightmare to try to make a nice, neat mitered corner. I cut it VERY close on this one:


Whew. Here's my idea of the perfect corner:


The closest seam is right under my thumb.

Before I knew it, I was DONE! Here's a look at the back:


Maggie clearly approves.


Perhaps too much.

While the back is facing up, and until someone decides to get off the quilt, let's do a close up of the quilting:


I'm really happy with how it came out - and the thread choice ended up being a perfect fit!

Let's move on to the front.


Umm ... OK, a couple detail shots first:



The contours will be even more pronounced after I wash it.

Here's the front!


And an over-all view:


This quilt is for us, so I had no qualms letting Maggie test it out.  Or laying it on the floor, for that matter.

It feels good to be completing things!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

What About Those Leftovers?

Hi, everyone!  Before I get started, I really want to thank those of you who are reading and especially those who take the time to leave a comment, whether here or on FaceBook.  I truly appreciate it!

So ... leftovers.  Remember I showed you the Half-Square Triangles (HSTs) left over from the string/scrappy Kansas Dugout?  I also showed you and used the ones from the X Plus Table Runner --  and ended up using them in the border.  Well ... I also had a bunch of HSTs left from the larger X Plus Quilt!  I HAVE to use them - right?

The ones from the X Plus blocks themselves were smaller than what I'd like to deal with right now, but remember the pink star setting blocks?  I used those flippy squares - did the extra line of sewing and have a nice number of HSTs to play with!

I loved that sort of DNA or twist thing I had been playing with, so I started playing with this batch of HSTs!


I thought it looked sweet!  And it struck me -- if I made a few more HSTs (is that cheating?) I could complete that "twist" instead of just sort of cutting off the pattern.  I had a few extra squares cut anyway, so ...


Shout out to my friend Donna/Dove who recommended one of these tools!  It helps you line up your squares so you don't have to mark.  Great time saver!  YES, I marked mine anyway!  It's sort of like training wheels.  I got too confused at first.  How I sewed in the wrong area is beyond me, but I did.  So I marked a few until I got the hang of it.

I made the "plain" parts, so I could extend the pattern:


Mags and Cam were impressed, as you can see.

Everything sewed together really well!  See how that twist continues?


Here's a look at the whole line up:


I think if I add some simple borders, this would make a nice, Summer-y table runner.  Or something.  

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Finished Frenzy!!!

I actually finished the Patriotic Frenzy Quilt!  You know - the one I started 10 years ago?  To.  The.  Month.  Whew!  Am I fast or what?!?

Yeah, OK.  But I did finish, so I'm thrilled!  Here it is, laid out on the dining room table:


How about some close ups?  Remember, a piece of BDU fabric from my husband's old uniforms is at the center of each block!


The rest of the fabrics are all patriotic or US military-themed.  This is quite possibly my favorite corner - and it was totally unplanned!


One of my favorite fabs:

"... one nation under God ..."
I'm very pleased with how the quilting turned out!


Here is a look at the back:


I wanted to set it somewhere near natural daylight for a nice shot. This ottoman seemed like a cozy, inviting place:


(For those of you who read the Army of Four Digest, please check out Maggie's take on "cozy and inviting".)

And yes, when I set it out on the floor to try to shoot the whole quilt ...

Maggie and Cam
Oh, how I love those two!!!

I washed it and now it looks even better.

It feels so good to have finished this!  Thanks so much for reading!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Getting Back To The X Plus!

Hi, everyone!  Let's get back to that first X Plus quilt!  I've been busy - so let me do a quick summary!

Once I got the top pieced, I chose the quilting thread:


I know. It's not a King Tut. Remember - I'm trying to use what I have on hand. Sadly, the King Tut thread I thought I was going to use was way too "lime" to be a good fit. This is Aurifil and is a very nice thread, also. The only hitch to it is that the spool is taller than either of my spindles; to keep it from flying around (especially while winding a bobbin) I used my adapter:


Yes, a plastic straw. Hey, it works! And I would normally put a cross-wound spool on the horizontal spindle, but again -- it's too long. I've since purchased an adapter for cones and other spools and will blog about that soon. I'm excited about it, as it opens up a whole new realm of threads.

ANYWAY ... I pieced the back of the quilt:


... and after a day or two of procrastinating, I spray basted it:


That has to be my least favorite part of the process, in case anyone was wondering. I also added small safety pins along the outside edges, as added insurance.

On to the quilting!

I had a great plan for some really cool straight line quilting. I hated it - and ripped it all out. That was Plan A. I also ripped out Plans B, C, and D. Probably E, too.


Eventually, I let myself go free-style and was much happier!


So was Maggie. I'll show you details later. On to the binding!


I pieced it from scraps, of course.


Because I do that, I try to lay it out on the quilt before I sew it, to avoid having a thick seam fall right on a corner.


That's as close as I like to get. And usually I connect the strips at an angle, but that section was already pieced together like that. I think it was part of the back.

The front of the binding is on now:


I'm almost done with the hand work on the String Quilt - then I'll start the process on this one!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Scrappy NRAJR Quilt

Hi everyone!  I finally got the blocks I made in 2012 put together -- the Scrappy Not-Really-A-Jelly-Roll blocks I've been telling you about.


Wow, are there a lot of memories sewn up in those!  Not just the fabrics, but of Dave ...


... and Zim ...


... two of my past Siberian Huskies.  They were both instrumental in helping me with that quilt.

The full story of Dave and Zim's involvement is on the Army Of Four Digest in three installments - here, here, and here. If you have time, please give it a read. I swear it's all true. They were a riot!


Anyway, I got on to assembling my rows:


I had marked carefully with my "bread bag" plastic thingies so I wouldn't forget what went where.  Two things I noticed while putting this together:

  1. I pressed these blocks REALLY well!  Did I starch them?  I must have.  They were awesome to work with.
  2. In addition to normal "quilt weight" cottons, I also have some homespuns and heavy flannels in there.  Why I thought that would be OK in a quilt with so many seams and points meeting up is beyond me, but somehow it all came together.

Before I knew it, the whole top was together:


YAY!  It only took me ... let's not go there.  I did get back to it - that's what matters!  It's in the queue to be quilted.

For now, I have pieced the back for the X Plus quilt and have that all basted and ready to go.  More on that very soon!

For now - thanks so much for reading!