Thursday, November 7, 2019

My Last Quilty TBT

Here we are at what I'm pretty sure is my last Throwback Thursday quilt post. So let's get right to it. I made this one for my daughter and son-in-law in, I think, 2006, about a year after they got married--sort of a first anniversary gift, I guess. For some reason I had no photos of it and didn't think of it until just recently when I was searching for photos for my previous TBT post. So I asked my daughter to take some current photos, and while she was doing that, she came across an old one she had taken. Here is the quilt on their bed in 2009. I think my daughter might have been sentimentally taking photos as they were getting ready to become homeowners.
The quilt is based on colors that were popular at the time in an upscale home decor store, so I've always thought of it as the PB quilt (initials of the store). Although I have no photos of my own, I did find some documents on my computer of some of my plans for the design and color arrangement. It seems that I downloaded some graph paper and painstakingly colored in the squares using my paint program on my computer. Yipes! I'm not even sure how I did that. Here are some of my ideas:

I'm pretty sure the one on the left in that last picture is the final design. 

Here are some photos of the quilt in their current bedroom:
She had to dig it out of storage, so it's a bit scrunched up. It now only lives on the bed under their current quilts in the winter when it gets really cold. 
Here's a close up so you can see some of those tone-on-tone fabrics better. And you can also see that I tied it with pearl cotton. I was not yet retired back then and had no time to quilt it. I was only doing hand quilting at the time. They would probably still be waiting for it today if I had quilted it. I don't know the exact size, but it fits a queen sized bed, and the last time I hand quilted a quilt that size, I think it took 17 years. (There's a TBT post about that other quilt somewhere on this blog.) The back of this quilt is off-white--probably a good quality muslin. I'm certain that the batting is polyester given the distance between those ties.

This is, as far as I can tell, my 52nd quilty Throwback Thursday, a series of posts I have devoted to the quilts I made--or quilted--before I started blogging sometime in 2014. During that time I have documented at least 174 quilts--all the ones I could find photos for. There were a few more quilts along the way, but those were either exact duplicates or ones that slipped away from me without any documentation. I started this series in October 2014 when I found a blogger who was featuring TBT posts. Alas, the following week, she disappeared from blogland. For a few months I linked up almost weekly with another blog (Kelly at My Quilt Infatuation, which is still going strong), but that didn't feel quite right because the quilts featured on that blog were new ones. In the fall of 2015, I found Jenn at A Quarter Inch from the Edge, and I linked up with her monthly TBT linky party until life caught up with her in the fall of 2016, and she discontinued the party. I took a TBT break until January 2018, when Sandra at mmm! quilts revived TBT the first Thursday of the month. She now shares the hosting of the party with  AndrĂ©e at Quilting and Learning. So a big thank you to all of these women, and especially Sandra for reviving TBT. 

I have a real sense of accomplishment completing this documentation of old quilts. Looking back, I see that I used to write often about one quilt at a time. As my blogging rate tapered off, I started grouping quilts.There were some posts that wrote themselves--the ones where there was a poignant, or at least interesting, back story. Others relied on details and statistics because that was really all I had. Anyway, if you are new or newish to my blog and are interested in my old work and previous TBTs, just click on the "throwback thursday" label on the right side bar or at the bottom of this post. I think that will take you to most, if not all, of them. 

Again, thanks to the wonderful bloggers who have made these TBT parties possible. I'm linking up today with Sandra at mmm! quilts, where you will find her ALWAYS fascinating TBT blog post (really, she has total recall of the quilts she made before blogging and great photos) and the link party for you to share your own pre-blog quilts if you can. Even if you don't have any to share, be sure to read about the others at the party. 

I'll be back soon with more on my current projects. Until then, keep quilting!

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Black Crumbs and Other Scrappy Fun

Ooh, just realized it's the last Saturday of the month. I've had these little patches done for a couple of weeks but no time to blog. Anyway, here they are--the last of my rainbow crumbs for Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2019. I don't have a lot of blacks in my stash, especially when I left out most of the tone-on-tones that looked mostly solid, so these crumbs are a bit repetitious, but that's okay. There are some interesting prints. The photo's not great. It's very dark in the house today, so I put took these in front of the slider door to the deck.
Here's one with some of its friends and the background fabric (in the upper left) that will be the sashing. 
These will get trimmed down to about 5 inches (or 5 1/2 if I can manage it) before sashing. There are 48 blocks in all. 

I hope to finish the RSC19 quilts by the end of the year, but that may be pushing things a bit, as I have some other things going. 

I have been sewing, but one project I can't show right now. It's so hard not to share, but all will be revealed eventually. I can show you a bit of a squirrel that crossed my path this month--well, not literally, although that does happen from time to time. And it fits in with this post as it is a scrap project. Mostly. In the middle of it, I ran out to buy one tiny bit of fabric--the yellow one with large gold dots on the left--because I felt like it needed something a little more dramatic than I had on hand.

Here's what part of the process looked like. I drew a pattern on graph paper and then made templates from freezer paper using techniques I learned from Ruth B. Mc Dowell's books. This is my favorite kind of piecing--like a puzzle. And this one has the added dimension of a flap for the central vein and stem. I think I'll add more blocks from time to time with other leaves, flowers and natural elements, but I don't have a real firm plan at this point.

So that's it for this week (month?). Today, a great big squirrel dropped into my inbox in the form of a pattern and request from my daughter for a Christmas Tree skirt. Ooh, part of it is foundation pieced! This is just in time, since I can't share the other project I'm working on. 

I'm linking up this week with Angela at So Scrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday and with Cynthia at Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh Scrap. And since there is a little squirrel here, I'll also link up with Sandra's next DrEAMi (Drop Everything and Make It) party at mmm! quilts

I hope you're having fun playin' in the scraps.

(I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores I'm just documenting what I used or liked.) 

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Brown Bits, Etc.

The past month has been full of activities--so full that I haven't been on social media as much as usual, which is fine, except that I have not been good at responding to comments or at browsing blogs. So, if I haven't commented on your blog or acknowledged a comment from you, I am so very sorry. I haven't done much quilting either--so no squirrels or throwbacks. Oh, well. I do have a few things I can share. One of them happened this week! The color of the month for Rainbow Scrap Challenge is darks--browns, blacks, grays. I've been waiting for this month for so long. My butterflies needed bodies, and I knew my big stash of browns was ready to meet the challenge. I made 56 little bodies, which took longer than you might think because I had about 25 different pieces of fabric to cut into. They are done. And not only that, but I sewed them to the wings of my butterflies, AND I sewed the background triangles to complete the blocks. Here are just a few of them.

I'll share the rest after I get the whole thing together. I love how they look with the green dotted background. I always think of brown as an old-fashioned color--the age of the scraps I used confirms that, I think. Many are from the mid-80's. But really, brown looks so neat with any bright color. I especially love it with turquoise. Maybe sometime I need to feature it more in a quilt. Anyway, these little blocks are done. Now I have to figure out why on earth I decided to make 56 of them. My original plan was to make 48 for a quilt about the size needed by my usual organization for quilt donations. Was I going to put some on the back? Should I cut them down smaller? (There's enough excess to do that.) Should I keep them big and donate to an organization that needs a bigger quilt? I just don't know. I will have to ponder this a bit while I make my other blocks for RSC this month. (Black crumbs!)

Meanwhile, I did a little quilting on my Hollyhocks quilt. 

This is a really long-term project that I pull out on vacations. It's the perfect take-along hand work project. I'm quilting texture into the background. 

The stitches aren't real visible, but the texture is luscious. And because it's just stipple quilting, there's no marking. I'm up to the border now, so I cut some scrap fabric that I pin onto the backing so it will fit into the hoop.
For the interior part of the quilt, I used hot pink thread because I had it and it is the same color as the hollyhocks. For the border, I'm using some leftover variegated blue to amuse myself. I don't know if I have enough, so I'm using it on the upper half or two thirds of the border--kind of like sky. These won't show that much, but it's fun to use up the thread. Actually, the back is looking pretty interesting because it's a more solid fabric so the stitches show a lot. Again, just amusing myself. This will never show on the wall.
I can't end without sharing a few photos of where this project went with us last week. We stayed in a little house in Rogers City along Lake Huron in northern Michigan. There is a gorgeous bike trail there that goes along the lake to a state park and a lighthouse. There is also a waterfall a few miles away, and two more lighthouses a short drive down the coast. Our house had a lake view (lots of ship watching) and was right on the bike trail. Here is a sampling of photos. Such a beautiful area.

40 Mile Point Lighthouse
Of course, I have to share a photo of one of the sewing machines there.
New Presque Isle Lighthouse (1870)
Old Presque Isle Lighthouse (1840) The cottage is not as old.
A peek at a quilt through the cottage window. (It was closed while we were there.)
Ocqueoc Falls. We went here three different times. There is a stone amphitheater to just enjoy the view. One day we saw salmon trying to jump the falls. 
So many natural wonders along the hiking trails. There is a tiny scallop along the edge of these mushroom tops.

A bit of color
And always the Lake...

So much inspiration.

Even though this post is short on scraps, I'm linking up this week with Angela, the host of RSC19, at So Scrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday and with Cynthia at Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh Scrap, just to keep you up-to-date on my scrap projects.

Just one more photo of my favorite season, now that we are back home. I hope you are having a beautiful month.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Purple Butterflies

Well, I whipped these littles out this week--sort of. I was wavering between doing red and purple butterflies, and purple won out. I remember I struggled with purple during Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC) last year because I don't have many purples--and some are pretty ugly. But my butterfly bits are small, so I still had enough to use for them. 

I was rolling along with the foundation paper piecing, and then it was time to put the dotted background bits in. Uh, oh. They were not in my butterfly bin. Somewhere along the way with this project, I cut all my background pieces out so that they'd be ready to quickly sew each month. But also, somewhere along the way, I decided to make 56 butterflies instead of 48. Never thought about cutting more backgrounds. So that slowed me down a bit. Luckily, I did have enough of the background fabric left to cut the rest. 

Now I have all 56 sets of wings finished, 8 of each color. Here are some of my favorites:

Don't you love all those little frowsies? They'll get cleaned up eventually. I'm really glad I made purple instead of red butterflies--the color balance seems better to me. I think red would have been overwhelming. Next month I'll get the brown bodies attached, and then the fun begins of adding the outer triangles and sewing up the top. Just as a reminder, this pattern is Butterfly Dance (the mini version) by ellis and higgs. The string piecing on foundation papers is my twist on it. It's a super fun pattern which I have made SEW much use of. I don't often repeat patterns, but this is my third quilt, and actually many more if you think of it that the pattern is for a mini quilt with only four butterflies in it, and my quilts are all throw quilts. I have some ideas for another, too...

No RSC crumb blocks this month. I just do not have enough purples to make them in the low contrast way I'm making this project. I do need one more set of blocks, and I'm leaning heavily toward black prints. Maybe I could even sneak in some really dark purples with those. 

I'm linking up this week with Angela, the wonderful host of RSC19, for ScrapHappy Saturday at So Scrappy and with Cynthia, also a wonderful scrappy host, for Oh Scrap at Quilting is more fun than Housework.

I hope you have had some fun in the scraps this month!

(I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores I'm just documenting what I used or liked.) 

Thursday, September 5, 2019

A Few More Quilts

Two quick quilts today for Throwback Thursday. I don't have much information about the first one. I think it might have been a kit quilt. 

Sometime in the 1980's, my sister-in-law asked if I could quilt it. I'm not sure if she made the top or if a relative of hers did or if they both worked on it. I just remember that I jumped at the chance to do the quilting. At that time I was a hand quilter. In fact, it was my favorite part of making a quilt, and I thought of making a top as a way to get to the quilting. So this was the perfect project for me. I do not remember whether I marked the designs or if the top was pre-marked. I've enlarged a bit of the photo so you can see it better. I know it's fuzzy,  but it does show the sort of spirograph style flowers, circles and outlining. Does anyone remember these kinds of quilts and any details about them?
And now, I don't even remember whether I did the binding or not. If so, it was my first (only?) scallop binding. Wow, for a Throwback Thursday quilt, this sure is short on memory. We'll just blame it on young motherhood and the fact that I didn't need to keep track of my work since it was for a family member, not for hire. I gave my quilting as a gift to my SIL that year, (Christmas? Birthday? I don't know). She put it on her oldest daughter's bed, which is the one in the photo. 

I was "hired" by my mother-in-law to make this second quilt. 

The churn dash pattern is one I made (or quilted) often during my tiny quilting career (which you can read about if you click on the "my tiny career" label on the right sidebar). This quilt was to be an anniversary gift for friends of my in-laws. My MIL wanted Delft colors to celebrate the couple's Dutch heritage. While I was making it, I decided to pep it up just a little bit with one red churn dash block, which led to the name of the quilt: Tulip in the Delft--one of the rare times I named my early quilts.The quilting is outlining in all the background fabrics except the red block so that one would poof out a bit. And then I did my signature leafy vine pattern in the border. Here's the back:

I made this quilt in September 1988. It measures 13 1/4 by 11 1/2 inches. 

Well, since this post is short on content, I'll include just one more quilt--one I made for our family room. It still hangs there. 

I've shown lots of mini quilts on my blog over the years, but aside from a couple of tiny pictorial quilts, I've never made a really tiny quilt for us except for this one. It's from a pattern I bought. The folder says it's from Mary Herschleb Designs in Hudson, Wisconsin. The copyright date is 1995, which makes sense, because that is the year we moved to a new house, and my daughter and I set to work painting birdhouses for decoration. It was a fun little quilt to make--paper foundation pieced, with tiny black buttons used to "quilt" it. I used all scraps. Even the background is a variety of prints. I used black embroidery thread to attach the buttons and tied it in bows on the back. Not sure why I did it that way, but there you have it.

Now that I look at it more closely, I guess I did a bit of actual quilting around the yellow border. The birdhouses have long since been packed away (first step toward donation), but the little quilt still hangs on the side of an antique china cabinet in our family room. The quilt measures 13 1/4 by 11 1/4 inches.

Well, that's almost it for my Throwback Thursday posts of my pre-blog quilts. I guess you can tell I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel for content about these last ones, but it is good to have them all documented. I have just one more quilt (as far as I can tell) to post about, but I don't have a photo of it, which seems really odd to me, because it's a big quilt. Since the quilt is owned by my daughter and son-in-law, it will not be a problem to remedy that. 

I'm linking up today with Sandra at mmm! quilts for Throwback Thursday. Go there to read her always interesting and delightful post about her own pre-blog quilts and post some of your own if you have any.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Worthwhile Squirrels

A few weeks ago I started a quilt--a runner--for our bed. I shared a photo on Instagram when I was halfway done putting it together. The quilt is basted now and ready to quilt. This post is not about that quilt. Eventually it will get its own post. There's no big hurry to finish it as we don't need it until the weather turns cold. So I set it aside, and spent a couple of days working on my RSC19 blocks, intending to get back to the quilt after that. This post is not about those blocks either. You can read about them in last week's post

I took some time out from sewing to read a few blogs, and came across a post by Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict about the need for tiny quilts and pillowcases for the Socorro Foundation. She was sharing the brainchild of another Sarah who posted the need on Lazy Cozy Quilts and is hosting the drive to collect these items. By providing shelter, supplies and support with communication and educational resources, the Foundation serves families seeking asylum that have been released from federal agencies and are awaiting arrangements with family/sponsors . The quilts will be used at the shelter and washed everyday. When children arrive at the shelter, they will be given the pillowcases to keep. The need is great as there may be more than 100 people served every 3 to 5 days.

That bed quilt can wait. This is the project I've been searching for for a long time, even though I didn't know it. For months, I've been trying to think of a way to tangibly show love and support for asylum seekers, but it seemed there was nothing I could do. And then...this opportunity. Now I can do something.

And that is how I came to chase these squirrels. 

I did not have any suitable fabric--the kinds of pieces that you can cut WOF (Width of Fabric) strips from--so a shopping trip was in order. I usually like to shop at my local independent fabric shops, but a ping on my phone let me know that there was a huge sale (70 % off of some fabrics) at the big box fabric store, so of course, I had to check that out.

My first mission was to find fabric for pillowcases. I checked out those ultra cheap fabrics ($1.79 a yard). I loved the patterns and colors, but the fabrics felt coarse and grainy--not like premium cottons that make pillowcases so silky to the touch. So, despite the deal, I ruled them out and found softer cottons, still on sale, but a bit more pricey. 

The first fabrics I chose were the seahorse and "scales" (mermaid?) prints. I liked the seahorse fabric because of its all-over non-directional print. 
Picking out the fabrics was so much fun!! A sales associate suggested the teal strip. (I have never had a sales associate do that in that particular store!) It's perfect, isn't it?
The next fabrics that caught my eye were the floral fabric and a coordinating dot print.
And how about that little spark of orange red stripe!
I was uncertain about the third set of fabrics. Early in my search, I had seen the dolphin/whale print. I loved it, but it was a directional print and I wasn't comfortable with how it would look if I cut the strips for the case across the WOF. (I know that's weird. Lots of people make pillowcases with the design going parallel to the cuff. Just an idiosyncrasy--idiosyncrazy--on my part.) But I couldn't let it go, so I decided to buy extra fabric so that I could cut the strip for the main fabric with the straight grain instead of the WOF.
When I cut the main fabric, I also cut the strip in half and turned one piece 180 degrees. By putting seams on both sides of the case, the sea creatures were in the position I wanted them to be whether the cuff was on the right or the left.
I love that crosshatch trim strip.
I thoroughly enjoyed making the pillowcases. I'm not sure what I liked more, pairing the main and cuff fabrics or picking out that little bright strip. Because I cut the dolphin print parallel with the selvedge, I could have saved a bit of money by also cutting the cuff from that fabric, but I like using three different fabrics. This is the first time I've made pillowcases. It will not be my last because I loved making them. I looked at the numerous patterns online to figure out how to make them. I won't mention any websites here because they are everywhere, but they are the ones that some call "burrito" cases because of how they are made. It blows my mind how it all works out with such simple sewing. And now that I know how easy it is to adjust the pattern for a directional print, I'll be sure to look for more fun novelty prints.

My second mission was finding fabric for two little quilts. I needed this to be a quick project, so I decided to make wholecloth quilts with fun prints. The first one I found was a dinosaur print, which I paired with a diagonal crosshatch fabric for the back. 

For the quilting, I used my walking foot to follow lines in the landscape. Some of the lines were gently curved and some had volcanoes in them, which made a little bump in the quilting. 
Easy peasy. No marking, just enough quilting to hold it securely but softly with some interesting lines.
Because these quilts will get washed a lot, I attached the binding by machine--not my skill, but it's secure, and a little kid won't mind the wobbles.
While I was looking around for fabric for one more quilt, the same sales associate asked if I had looked at the fabric that was on super sale. (She was so helpful!) I told her I wasn't crazy about how it felt. She said that it had lots of sizing in it and would soften up when washed. I took another look. The thread count seemed a bit light, but I decided to take a chance on it. After all, $1.79 a yard!! There were so many fun florals and coordinating prints.
For this quilt I did a large (humongous, for me) stipple. I had a bit of mint thread that I had used in other projects, probably not enough for a whole quilt, so I used it in the middle third and then finished with white. So much fun! I had prewashed the fabric, and by the time I was finished quilting, it was delightfully soft and silky. 
I love the paisley back, and the tiny floral print on the binding.
Now, of course, I wish I had bought a whole cartload of that fabric. I still wonder a bit how it will wear, but really, it's very much like the fabric I sewed with in my youth, and that lasted well. I will watch for sales and buy this again, for sure. Even not on sale, it's a good deal at only $5.99. 

So here are some stats:
--The pillowcases are about 20 by 31 inches. I cut my WOF strips at 27 inches for the main fabric, 11 (I think) for the cuff and 2 for the trim strip. For the directional case, I bought 45 inches of fabric (I love how you can by fabric by the inch, instead of by an eighth or quarter yard at the big box store) and then prewashed it before cutting. 

--I bought lengths of 45 inches for the fabrics in the quilts. and 45 inches of batting (Heirloom 80/20) off a 96 inch bolt for the two. I prewashed the fabrics and then determined the sizes by the WOF size and slightly longer for the length. The dinosaur quilt was about  40 1/2 by 41 3/8 inches before washing and 39 by 40 1/4 after. The floral quilt was 39 3/8 by 41 before washing and 37 by 39 after. 
If you are moved to join the effort, I encourage you to do so. The quilt and pillowcase drive will end this weekend, I think (UPDATE: I just found out that the drive has been extended for two more weeks!), but the donations can go on and on. This project is easy, inexpensive, and fun, and the opportunity to give a quilty hug and a soft place for children to lay their heads is one of the most worthwhile squirrels I can think of. Check out the links near the beginning of this post for full information, and if you can spread the word on your own blogs, Instagram posts or by mouth, I'm sure the results will be a blessing beyond measure. And remember, chase those squirrels. You'll be glad you did.

I'm linking up this weekend with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop and Sandra at mmm! quilts for Drop Everything And Make it (DrEAMi)