Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Hollyhocks and more

Summer is in full swing. We've spent time with family, done some fun daycare, gone on some it! So it's a perfect time to spend on smallish quilt projects--mostly in the evenings. I've been focusing on my Hollyhocks quilt (pattern by Ruth B. McDowell). I have all of the flowers made, and two of the leaves. I have two more leaves and a set of buds to go and then the background. It is such a fun puzzle!!
The blocks will get moved around a bit with some turned, but this is the general layout so far. I had intended to stick with stash for this quilt, but caved in to some purchases. I had a couple of Grunge fabrics and went to the store to supplement with one more. but then I couldn't decide between three. So what's a girl to do? Why, buy a bit of all three, of course. 
I'm glad I did. There are subtle differences that made it work to use all three. I wish I knew the names of the colors. I looked at the bolt ends, and all they said was something like "new color" or "new product." I should have taken pictures to check the fabric numbers to help ID them. Oh, well. Here's a close up of one flower:

I also bought some neutral/green fabrics for the background of the flowers. I'm not sure how they'll go with the overall background, but I'll worry about play with that later. 

Here's a general idea of the progression from pattern to flower in freezer paper piecing:

I love how the mess of letter codes, highlighting, grain lines, and tick marks come together to make a wonderful puzzle and precisely pieced block. Prep time takes awhile, but the sewing goes so fast!

Here's how a leaf looks in progress, back and front:

It's the bottom block in the layout at the top of the post. I did change the middle leaf after I sewed it together to get a little more contrast. It was easy to pick out a couple of seams and reuse the freezer paper pattern to fit the new piece in. That's what I love about this technique. It's easy to lay out a block to see how it will look and to redo parts. (Usually I make changes before sewing so I don't have to pick out seams, though.) Yea for me--I did use greens from my stash (except one Grunge). Some are super old!!

In the last couple of weeks, I also finished the sky on my Lake Michigan quilt. 

I was going to do the foreground of the sand first, but wasn't feeling inspired, so the sky it was. I added one new piece of fabric that I got at a sidewalk sale last week, but otherwise all of the sky is from my stash. Those clouds gave me fits! I messed around for a long time. The song "Both Sides Now" kept going through my head as I fiddled around with cloud shape and placement, especially, " It's clouds' illusion I recall. I really don't know clouds at all." All together now. Sing it with me. It's true. I see clouds every day. But I just haven't paid that much attention to how they look. I finally decided that it didn't matter and settled on shapes and an arrangement that I liked. Since then, I've been hyper-aware of clouds--and we've had a whole week of really interesting formations. What a treat! Soon I'll tackle that foreground--maybe after I finish the hollyhocks. 

A couple more things to share. The other day we were at an antique/thrift store that we like to check in with occasionally. There was a pile of stuff that had just been dropped off from what looked like someone's estate or moving sale leftovers. On top were two bags of batting.

One king size and one almost crib size (a bit cut off) I shamelessly looked them over carefully and stuck my nose in the bags to make sure they didn't have any funky smell. They were fine! So I asked how much they cost. $2.00 for both!!! Score! I will be able to make 4 throw quilts and a wall hanging or several minis. The clerk didn't know what they were, and when I said "batting," he pointed me to a vintage sewing machine that had come in. 

He said he couldn't open it because there was no key, and he didn't want to damage the case. (Good for him!) I was just curious enough that I went online that night to find out how to open the lock without a key. It turns out that all you need is a super skinny 3mm flat head screw driver. The next day I went back to the store armed with my knowledge and a screw driver, told the clerk what I had found out, and opened the case. (Actually, my husband opened the case. He had a better touch than I with the screwdriver.) Inside was a pretty 99 Singer from around 1928. 

It was electric with a solid hand wheel. Nice, but I restrained myself. If it had been a hand crank or had a spoked wheel I would have grabbed it. (I keep wondering how much it would have cost.) I left it on display with the case open. I hope someone else who will love it finds it. I think Bonnie K Hunter would be proud of me for displaying it instead of closing the top again. She always advises to free machines up for display when you find them hidden away in antique shops so someone will buy them and give them a good home. I keep thinking about it...

I'm linking up today with Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social. I hope your summer (or winter if you're on the other side of the world from me) is giving you time for fun little projects. 


Mari said...

Your flowers are so pretty! I really do love pink. I love the Lake Michigan project, too. It looks like the lake! Clouds are harder than they look. The question is how to make them look fluffy in two dimensions. And good for you for freeing that machine! It looks like a real beauty.

Louise said...

What a score on the batting and the vintage Singer!! Gotta jump on those bargains when you see them :)

Val's Quilting Studio said...

I too like the pink flowers. Creative and fun! Looks like you are having a lot of fun!

Sandra Walker said...

I ALMOST ALMOST bought one like that from the guy from whom I bought my '47 Featherweight! He only was asking $50 and would've taken $40 I'm sure. They were his dad's, who turned them into tractors!!! SCORE on the batting. I need to do that: look in thrift stores for fabric, just never think of it. Love Ruth's method although it looks complicated, but what results you are getting! And of course I adore Grunge; smart girl to buy all three. It really gives your flowers such depth.

KaHolly said...

Oh, my goodness! Loving those hollyhocks! And your
Lake Michigan project is going to be fantabulous! Nice machine, too!
What a summer you're having!

Preeti said...

So many shades of pink and I love them all. I am looking forward to the finished project. I just know it will be lovely.

Janie said...

Your work is beautiful, there's a lot of attention to detail which equals great results.
Perfect fabric choice too, I agree, it gives 'depth'.

Soma @ said...

The shades of the fabrics you are using are wonderful! Lovely summery quilts are in progress.


Lynette said...

Your hollyhocks are gorgeous - great call on getting all 3 Grunges, which really give them dimension. I'm a puzzle-lover, too, so I can appreciate the fun of these. :) And that sky!! SOOOO pretty.