Friday, March 26, 2021

Finishing Betty's quilt

 Hello everyone, and welcome to a spring weekend! It is, right now, at 7 am on Friday, 63 degrees. Also, quite humid, but we can overlook that for now in favor of happy dancing over the warm temperatures, right? An hour ago it was raining, but now all of that has burned off and it looks super-nice out there. Quite windy, but warm.
A couple of weeks ago, Preeti came over and visited for a little bit, and she saw today's quilt pinned up on the design wall. "That was here last time," she said. (Then she made off with a bag of my scraps, but that's a different story.) She was right, and it was time to get this baby quilted up. This one was hard to photograph, but here she is:
See what I mean about hard to photograph? The colors weren't cooperating. This quilt belongs to my sister-in-law, Susie. Susie's mom passed away from Alzheimer's disease, which she had suffered from for years. Carol was a quilter, and when cleaning out the house, Susie found this quilt in a bag, all basted and ready to quilt. The daughter and granddaughter of quilters, she knew just what it was and sent it on to me to finish. 
When I looked at it, the quilt was very nicely and securely basted (with red thread!), but it had polyester batting. I hated taking out the basting, but I knew the quilt would last longer and look better if I took out that basting and replaced the polyester with cotton. I'm all for honoring the original intent of the quilter, but I'm not for using inferior materials. It turned out to be a good decision, because this really turned out to be quite cuddly!

I also discovered this on the back:
The quilt was not made by Susie's mom, but by her grandma, who also died from Alzheimer's. I imagine this was one of the last quilts she basted, since she passed away shortly after this. Perhaps that's why it didn't get finished-- it was just too emotional to complete.
I kind of bonded with Betty while finishing her quilt. I must have met her at my brother's wedding, though I can't remember. Weddings are like that, you know? The embroidery here is very neat, with no stray threads, and the seams are just about perfect. Everything was pressed and trimmed very nicely, much better than I usually do it. Also, she made some design choices that I understood. Take a look at these pictures:
On the left is the inside of the quilt back, and on the right is the outside. It's subtle, but if you look closely you can see that Betty used the back of the pink fabric in the quilt. This is also true in the pieced top. The fabric must have been the "wrong" pink for her, so she used the back to get the right color.
Also, she chose to use the border fabric on the back and front as the binding, which was also packaged with the quilt. (True fact: I calculated that I needed 260 inches of binding, and there were 265 inches in the bag.)  The binding nearly disappears into the borders. I might not have done this, but it's interesting on her quilt.

To quilt this one, I used a fairly wide (3-5/8 inches) crosshatch in a parchment-colored thread which blended right into the quilt. Really, you can barely see it. I thought that Betty had probably intended to hand quilt this, and I could have done the stitch-in-the-ditch thing, but this secured the embroidered blocks and kept the quilt nice and cuddly. It was tough to stitch over that embroidery, believe me, but I closed my eyes and did it. I marked the lines with a Hera marker, and there are a few wobbles where the line was not easy to see, but overall, I like how it turned out. 

The backing was pieced and likely meant as borders on the back, and to use up the fabric, so I matched the centers to get it lined up properly. I think it turned out well, and fairly even on each side, and I love the picture above because of the shadows. The sun was in and out while I was taking these, and this time it made an interesting photo.

So, after all this time, Betty's quilt is finally finished. I've sent it back to Susie with the suggestion that she save it for a grandchild. Wouldn't that be amazing, to have a grandbaby using great-great-grandma's quilt? Just the idea makes me happy that this is done. 
Next time Preeti comes to visit, there will be something else up on the design wall and she can kick me in the pants to get that one finished, too. (Such a motivator!) I have a couple of things I'm still working on quietly, and I'm starting to feel more like myself. The sunshine really helps! And look what I found while photographing this quilt:
Flowers! My heart sings!

Hope everyone has a really good weekend. We might-- might-- go to a restaurant. The hubs and I have both been vaccinated and are now past the two weeks that you need after that to be safe, so maybe a little bit of normal life is in order. Whatever you're doing, I hope there's some spring sunshine in it for you!

Sharing at Finished or Not Friday, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and Brag About Your Beauties.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Small updates on small things

 Hi everyone! I hope you have been having a good week. It has been another busy one here, but today I hit a milestone: I have walked 150 kilometers since January 1. That's 93 miles! There's either something seriously wrong with me or I'm having a lot of stress. It may be both because I really wanted to hit this milestone today so I went out walking in the rain. At least it was warm-ish. Wet, though.

Today I just wanted to say hello to everyone so I just have a couple of small updates. I finished nothing this week, but I did make progress! First, I basted two baby quilts:


It was raining, so interior pictures. And an exciting picture it is, isn't it? These are now ready for quilting, and they're just getting straight lines. Maybe a crosshatch. Since these are only 36 inches square I think I can quilt them both up at the same time, one line after the other.  These are both for donations, so I need to finish them up fairly soon.

I also want to make this piece into another baby quilt of the same size, so I've been trying to choose one of these three options as a border. What do you think?

Yeah, I'm not sure either. I'll keep looking. No matter what, it will be colorful, right?
The other thing I've started working on is these fun stars:
These are made from some really big leftover half-square triangles from a quilt that is on it's way from my longarmer friend. I had to use them up, and I think they'll make some nice "seeds" for a new scrappy quilt. Could it be that I'm starting to snap out of my burnout if I'm starting a new quilt? I guess it's possible!

I realized earlier today, as I was just staring in wonder at the new floor, that I never showed a picture of why this was such a big deal for us. We bought this house with "original floors." Unfortunately for us, the original floors were fieldstone set in concrete. It was not pretty. I'm sure the original architect had great visions, but he didn't have to clean the darned things. Here is the before and after:

It was very, very noisy and extremely messy, but the stone is gone and we now have hardwood. We love it and are so much happier with it. And you know what? I can sweep this and it actually comes clean! It's amazing!

That's the update from here! I hope you all had a wonderful week and have a lovely weekend planned. I am planning to paint my husband's office. What can I say, I live dangerously! Here is just one more picture of something that had me squealing:
Daffodil sprouts and snowdrops! Spring is on the way!
Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Finished or Not Friday.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Round and round

 Hi everyone, and welcome to a lovely, sunny, warm Friday! This is sure to change as the weekend goes on, but for now it feels great. I know it's "fake spring," but I'll take it! It has been yet another hard week, but I did manage to put the last round on my Stay at Home Round Robin quilt top. This was a fun quilt along run by Quilting Gail, with the different rounds chosen by different bloggers.  I'm a little later than most people, as usual, but here is the top I finished from this project:


A happy hippo, surrounded by all kinds of fun colors and fabrics! He looks a little washed out here, but I promise that in person it is full of lovely colors and perfect for a child. I didn't get to take pictures until later in the day, and the sun was strong in some places and not so much in other places. Plus, it was quite windy! Not the best for taking pictures, but we do what we can.

I followed most of the rounds just fine, though I did adapt some of them for myself. I wanted this to stay small, for a donation quilt, so some of the rounds wouldn't really work. I had never made plus blocks before, and they were really easy, and the geese were fun, too. The checkerboard made the quilt rectangular, and I finished it with stars and pinwheels. What, you don't see the stars?


The stars are in the fabric! This fabric is actually leftover from a backing for a quilt that is coming home from the longarmer, and I think these stars look very mid-century modern. They work perfectly in this quilt top, too. The one element that I left out was the log cabins, but I just couldn't make those work, and I thought the top was quite big enough as it was.


This quilt is destined for donation for one of the organizations in Sarah's Hands to Help quilt challenge, which starts this weekend. It was a fun top to make, and it will be fun to send it off to a little person who needs a little comfort. Plus, every bit of it is a scrap! Every piece was leftover from something else, or pulled out of one of the scrap bins. I love it when that happens!

And that makes my week all finished! This weekend I am visiting with a quilty friend, but otherwise we are planning some serious down time and perhaps some movie watching. I may actually read a non-work-related book, too. Won't *that* be different? Hope you all have a lovely, restful weekend!


Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finished or Not Friday, Oh Scrap! and the SAHRR linkup at the end of the month.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Shining in the cold

 Hi everyone. How are you all today? I am happy to say that it is getting slightly warmer and today was full of sunshine. Hurray! There may even be a hint of green out there. Hurray! I was inside most of the day, except for a walk before it warmed up, but thankfully there are windows, and it. was. lovely. Sunshine just makes you happy, you know? 

Today I have a very small top to show, but it's also lovely and somewhat complicated. Here she is (yes, quilts are "she"): 


I told you it was really pretty! 

A few months ago, my friend Preeti reviewed a book and made a beautiful quilt from it. Since I had never made a quilt with diamonds, she loaned me the book and I chose this small top to try the technique. Why not challenge myself, you know? 

And it was a challenge, too! The cutting went just fine, and piecing the bigger diamonds was pretty easy, but then the bias edges made putting everything together a bit challenging. Some blocking and a lot of Magic Sizing and it turned out just fine. Next time, sizing (or better, starch) before cutting and piecing would be a good idea. A *lot* of starch would be an even better idea.

This top measures about 23 by 23 right now, which is small but a good way to try out a new technique. I used hand dyes for the colorful fabrics, and I am just thrilled with how it turned out. The tree above is curved, so the top looks a bit distorted, but I am pretty proud of the fact that it turned out both flat and square. And the points match (mostly!). I feel like this is a win! 

And now-- Some of you have noticed that I haven't been posting a lot, and I really owe some of you a thanks for the nice notes I've gotten. The truth is that, apparently, ten months of unrelenting stress is my limit. Something had to give, and the only "optional" thing in my life was stitching time and thus also the blog. Believe me when I say that this has been a real loss for me, but it's saving my mental health. I miss it terribly, and I will post more at the rate that I have for the last six years eventually. Thanks for sticking around and sticking with me through this, and really-- thanks for checking up on me. You can't know how much I appreciate it. (And don't worry, I am still buying plenty of fabric and paging through a lot of patterns and making plans!)

ANYWAY. . .this lovely little quilt is called Cactus Star, and the pattern and templates are in Diamond Star Quilts by Barbara Cline. You can find the book HERE, and read Preeti's review HERE. For now this one little quilt is enough for me, but there are some beautiful quilts in there if you love diamonds.

And just to end on a much happier note, I had some visitors very close to the house, right outside the door to the patio:

Yep, I'm ready for a fence. A little close for comfort!  Hope you are all staying well and healthy. Spring is coming, in more ways than one.

Sharing at Midweek Makers, Finished or Not Friday, and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.