Monday, March 30, 2015

My Day Lily Quilt is Finished!

This quilt was one of the first quilts I started, and has been a quilt top for a long time.  First I was going to hand quilt it, then I was going to machine quilt it, and this year I sent it out to be quilted, and I am very happy with the results.  My friend Joyce Brenner quilted it.

The pattern is in a book that I have, but all of my books are packed away while we are in transition from Virginia to Grand Rapids, so I can't give you the designer right now.  When I get my books unpacked, I will look it up and tell you.  But I finished the binding while we were watching more basketball games this weekend.   By some sort of miracle, our Michigan State basketball team is going to the Final Four.  We are so happy for them.

But enough fussing about other things!  On to the pictures!  This is the basic block, and I'm not sure what the flower is - I call it a Day Lily. 

 I turned the edge of the fabrics under and appliqued them down with thread, and then also used embroidery floss to buttonhole stitch around the leaves and flowers.  The blossoms and stems are with outline stitches and French knots.  I loved working on it, and love the colors - so cheerful looking.  DMC floss, three strands.  It is one of the first quilts I attempted and I am so happy that it is completed!

Joyce's quilting in a closeup:  She did a great job!

It's Monday and I'm going over to Judy Laquidara's blog to see what other quilter's have on their design wall.  (Here)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Why I make Doll Quilts - and How to Make This One

I have so many quilts started, and sometimes for no apparent reason, I start a new one.  What's nice about making a doll quilt is that the process from start to finish is very fast, comparatively speaking.  That's why I love them!  Here's what I made yesterday:


I leafed through one of my inspiration books, see details below, and saw a quilt that I thought would make a nice doll quilt.  See all the bookmarks in the book?

Recently I have been using the "magic eight" method of making half square triangles (Instructions here)  This can be used to make hour-glass blocks too, and for this quilt would speed up the process a lot.  

So I didn't do any math, just guessed at a size for the five large squares, and cut 5 squares of light and 5 squares of dark fabric, 5 inches by 5 inches.  Here are the five pairs, after I made the X in pencil on the light side, and sewed 1/4 inch seams on both sides of the pencil lines.

After cutting on the pencil lines, and then again cutting down the center of each of the 5x5 squares horizontally and vertically, I now had 40 half square triangles.  Some are shown here, after pressing the center seams open:

Next, I paired up two hsts, making sure there were opposite right sides facing each other (pink corner with a green corner) and drew a line from corner to corner with a pencil.

Using a pin to make sure the seam centers are in the same place, I sewed on one side of the pencil line, from corner to corner.  Then again on the other side of the pencil line.  You can peek and see if the center of the hourglass is good or not before you cut these apart.  I found I needed to put a pin into the sewing line right were I wanted the two seams to meet to get the best results.  But remember, this is a doll quilt, and it doesn't matter very much.

After cutting them in half down the penciled line, I pressed the center seam open, and now had a pile of cute little hourglass blocks:

Remember, I didn't have any size in mind for the finished quilt, and as a doll quilt can be any size, it doesn't matter.  Well, the biggest these could be would be 1.5 inches square, so I trimmed them all to that size.  When trimming, I made sure the ruler points were on a seam, and the center of the block was on a line on the ruler, like so:

After trimming, I felt the hard part was done, and the rest was just nine patches.  I simply cut 1.5 inch pieces of pink and green to make 10 little nine patches for the quilt:

Some of the little nine patch blocks:

Add alternate squares, which are cut to the same size as the star blocks, add a border, and it was a doll quilt top.  Here is my little kitty with the finished quilt top. The little quilt is now with batting and backing, ready for machine quilting. it will be bound with the same green as the border fabric, and will finish at about 16X19 inches.

It's Monday, and I'm heading over to Judy Laquidara's blog to look at Design Wall Mondays.  (Here)  

Monday, March 16, 2015

Redwork at the Basketball Games

We went to Chicago to watch Michigan State's league tournament this last week, and I brought redwork with me to work on while there.  Basketball has changed since the games are now all televised, and there are lots of breaks in the games.  College games are divided into two 20 minute halves.  Television dictates they have four planned timeouts during each half:  one for each time the clock is less than 16 min., 12 min., 8 min., and 4 min.  Also each coach gets to call 5 timeouts during the game.  The TV timeouts are 3 minutes long.   During the NCAA tournament coming up, the TV timeouts are even a little longer. AND, there are big breaks between the games.  The ticket gets you into the building for two games, and there is time before the game starts, and about 25 minutes between the two games.  But I say all this to explain that I got a lot of redwork done during the breaks in the games.  

They hand out lots of free things at the games, and I have a new lanyard, which proved very useful for my handwork.  I inserted the roll of Perle cotton floss on the lanyard, and attached my scissors to the clip at the end. Viola!  Everything needed is right in front of me!  I don't use a hoop with embroidery, so I was good to go.

Here are the 2.5 blocks finished/started in Chicago:

This flower looks like cockscomb, which is so beautiful in the fall.

An oak leaf to represent my forest here at the cabin.
This is one of the many flower blocks in the original quilt.  Looks like wild roses to me.

If you are wondering why we aren't using all of the original designs, here are two of them that were included in the patterns:

A lumpy lady with a hat three sizes too big.....and her face....maybe something got lost in the translation from the original quilt....I like to think so anyway.

A wolf with a serious overbite who is gazing at two sheep and some sprigs of something on the horizon.................did the original wolf have the overbite?

Dee and I are going to Paducah again this year, and I hope the vendor has the original quilt on display there, as I want to take a closer look at some of the squares. In the meantime, I am working on the squares that I like, and have set some of them aside for now.  What are you working on this week?

I'm linking up with Judy Laquidara's blog for Design Wall Mondays, as I like to see what others are working on today.   (Here)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Neighbors coming and going at the lake!

It looks like we have new neighbors moving into a tree at the very edge of our property, out by the mailbox.  Pileated woodpeckers mate for life and they are the largest forest bird in the United States.  The male begins excavating the nest cavity and does most of the work, and he starts in mid-March.  This may be a nest, or if not, a mother-load of insects were found in this tree.  We shall see as the nesting season progresses.  Most of the insect hunting holes have not been nearly this extensive, so I think this may be the beginning of a nest.

Here's the wood chips at the bottom of the tree:

And the two holes way up in the tree:

We are delighted to have them if they turn out to be new neighbors, as we have just had a neighbor on the other end of our property move out.  The ice fishing shanty that was out on the lake was moved away today. Another sign spring is coming!  I was going to go out there and talk to the fishermen, and ask if they had caught any fish, but with my pneumonia this winter, I didn't go, and now they are gone.  

My trip to Florida did the trick, and my pneumonia is much better.  Plus, while gone, I finished three redwork blocks for the 64 block redwork quilt.  I am nearing half-way!

Here are the three new blocks:

I'm almost finished with the turkey feathers.  The turkey was fun to do, and I added it to the quilt because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.   There was a discussion on Facebook this week about "Turkey Red" and the dye process. While I was working on this block, I thought......This guy is the supreme example of the reason it should be called turkey red!   Right?

I will be gone this weekend to Chicago to watch basketball.  The Big Ten Basketball Tournament is something hubby and I enjoy every year, as we are both basketball fans.  So no matter what team wins, we enjoy all of the games. 

Then we will be back home for March Madness, when all the basketball games are played all over the country.  When I return home, I will hopefully have more redwork squares to show you.  

Monday, March 2, 2015

Redwork, Handwork for a Trip

Some of my quilts are small, and are finished quickly, and some of my quilts are slow and steady projects.  This redwork quilt is of the second kind.  It will be made of 64 redwork squares and when finished, will be about 75" square.

It is a replica of a circa 1893-1896 PA quilt.  I bought the pattern from a vendor at the Paducah quilt show a few years ago, and my friend Dee is helping me embroider the squares.  We fell in love with the redwork border idea.  So, we've both been working on this quilt for some time.

I counted our completed squares this week, and we are almost half-way!  When we get five more finished, we will have 32 blocks!

Here are some of the blocks that are complete:

As with any pattern I use, there are changes (surprise, surprise).  Dee and I have added squares that have some meaning to us, and have eliminated some from the original pattern.  The American flag was one of the added squares, and I finished it last week:

Later today, I am flying to Florida for a week, and I hope to get rid of the remains of my pneumonia.  My plan is to sit in the sunshine and work on two squares for this quilt.  The two squares I'm bringing with me are (1) a sunflower (similar to this one, but not quite like it) and (2) a branch of oak leaves and acorns.  I will post pictures of them when I return home to my snowy cabin.

This is Design Wall Monday, and I will be going over to Judy Laquidara's blog to see what others are working on. (Here)  What project is on your schedule for this week?