Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Rolling along

I've finished step 6 of Bonnie Hunter's mystery, Roll Roll Cotton Boll.
Part one, in the photo below, used the pink-green-pink unit, with brown triangles added at each end. I do have an idea of how these will be used, but I'm not sharing because we were asked not to!

Part #2 of clue #6 instructed us to sew 5 of the half-square triangles together in a row, like this:

I also have an idea of how these will be used, but won't share that either! For the blue, I used up a whole shirt. I ran out of "shirt" so I cut into the PJ pants. The blues were very similar and blend together well.

This is going to make a huge quilt, at least queen size. When I see how all the pieces fit together, I'll decide how big to make it and what adjustments are needed.

Can't wait until Friday morning when clue #7 is due!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

RRCB step #5

For step 5 of this mystery, I have 431 HSTs completed....only 169 to go. I'm using an Easy Angle ruler, as Bonnie suggested, and I think this is easier than my usual method of putting 2 squares together, sewing two lines on the diagonal, cutting, then squaring.
I've gotten all the blue from one shirt, but that will probably run out. A pair of PJ pants in the same shade of blue is waiting in the wings for the remaining units.

As I'm sewing these little units, I keep wondering how all these pieces will fit together. Below is one block which came to mind, which is similar to a Bears Paw.
Where do the other units fit into this puzzle, though? I'll just have to be patient to find that out!

I've really enjoyed this mystery so far. By pushing myself to get the clues done in time for the next clue, I'm getting lots of sewing done. Other things are being neglected, though....housework, finishing Christmas cards, blah, blah, blah.........!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

RRCB....Still a mystery

Step #4 of Bonnie Hunter's mystery "Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll" was quick & easy, resulting in these little green and neutral units.

On the other hand, Step #3 (the neutral string-pieced blocks shown below) took hours & hours. The 60 blocks consumed lots of scraps, and I had fun making them all! Some of the fabrics make me smile...I've even got a treadle machine in there.

These are all the completed steps shown together, with the blue "constant" underneath it all. This mystery remains a mystery. I just can't imagine how all these blocks will go together!

Step #5 is expected on Friday.....I'm looking forward to the next clue.............


Time passes

This says it all..........

I thought of some variations that are relevant to my life.

Life is uncertain..........
Laugh with your friends first.
Read that novel first.
Take that drive in the country first.
Write that letter first.
Travel to [fill in the blank] first.
Cut into the Moda (fabric) first.
Say "I Love You" first.
Wear a dress first. (I always fall back on the easy outfits....jeans...)

I'm sure I can think of dozens more! As time passes & the years slip by, and I find that I am one of the "older" folks now (even though I'm not all that old!), I feel more of an urgency to do the things that really matter to me. This is harder than is sounds! It involves really examining my life and disengaging from activities that really don't matter to me, or that aren't worth the time & effort I put into them.
I yearn for a simpler life, but have a hard time pushing away all the "clutter"! It's a process to re-order my priorities and to act on them.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thrifty little quilt blocks

I was sewing a 2.25 inch binding today, sewing the strips together at a 45 degree angle. These little "waste triangles" cut off the seam were so cute, I just had to do something with them!

I paired them up with muslin triangles and made 5 tiny Hourglass blocks, which are about 2 inches square. These went into the box that I throw my vintage-looking scraps in, to be used for a future project.

Feeling inspired, I found a few more forgotten indigo blue triangles, found a scrap to go with them, and made this tiny Broken Dishes block. The triangles were sewn together on the long side this time. The block is about 3 inches square and so adorable! The pink fabric is from a re-purposed cotton ladies shirt.

Being frugal about my fabric, I routinely save little "waste triangles" but rarely use them. I'll most likely be making more of these charming little blocks! It's fun....I love being frugal!

If anyone else saves this little gems of fabric, what do you use them for?


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A new mystery

I probably have no business starting another project, but I couldn't resist joining in on Bonnie Hunter's new mystery "Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll".

My color choices are similar to Bonnie's: Pink, green, brown, lights, but for the constant I'll probably use the blue that is shown below. The blue is actually an XL pair of thrift shop men's PJs, barely worn, in a great antique shade of blue. It photographs a little brighter than it really is. The pink and green pieces are my completed "Step #1". So far, so fun!

I saw the movie "Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows" this afternoon. DH has not read the books nor seen any of the movies, so I'm glad I explained the whole story and background to him before we went. Without some explanation, he would've been totally confused and bored. He thought the movie was very dark and dreary, but I think it had to be that way to convey the atmosphere of despair and fear that was experienced by wizards and muggles alike!

I haven't been keeping up with my ambitious Random Reads idea. There are simply too many books here at home just waiting to be read!


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Two more UFOs finished!

I finished two more UFOs...yes...! This first one will be a donation quilt, but I'm not sure where I'm donating it yet. I sewed the binding down by machine. I'm finding that when I sew binding down by machine it caused the edges to be wavy, as if the binding is a tad bit longer than the quilt. Bindings that I sew down by hand don't do this.
The Quilt Police would not approve! That's okay, these quilts will never be in a quilt show.
Next time I machine sew the bindings, I'm going to try to very slightly scrunch, by hand, the quilt edge before I sew the binding onto it.
This is a close-up of the quilt. The yellow fabric is a strange pattern, probably from the 1970's. It was hard to find a use for it, but I think that in this quilt the cool colors of the blues and purples calms it down.

This is the 2nd UFO. I'll be donating this to the local chemo center, to be used as a comfort quilt for their patients. One of the members of my small quilt group is going through treatments and spends lots of time there. The quilts they have are looking worn and ratty, so we made more as a group project. The chemo center agreed to pay for the quilting on these quilts.
I already had the middle part done, languishing in my UFO closet, so I added the rows of purple & yellow on the top and the bottom to make it longer. In person, it looks very soft and serene.
It's turning cold here now! We've had 2 nights of below 40 degrees. I still have some healthy tomato plants, which I covered with sheets overnight. It'll be warmer for the next week or so, so I'm hoping to get some more tomatoes out of them! Last year, I picked a few dozen green tomatoes off my plants before the cold killed them. I let them ripen in a sunny part of the kitchen and they actually tasted decent - at least better than store-bought. I had heard that one could do this, but I didn't believe it!


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Blocks for Sunshine

I made these nine-patch blocks for one of the ladies, Gail, on my Yahoo Sunshine group. She'll make donation quilts with them. This was an opportunity for me to use up some of my bright scraps, and they were fun to make as well. These 14 blocks depleted my stash by approximately 1 yard. A mere drop in the bucket! I guess I could make 1,400 blocks, instead of only 14!

These bright blocks were sent to another Sunshine lady, Tammy, to use in donation quilts. That's another yard depleted from my stash. I guess every yard counts! I like the cat block, which is in Block Magic, Too by Nancy Johnson-Srebro. It's a fun block to make, and I think it adds interest to a kid's quilt.

This is one of the bright blocks from above. I
"invented" it to use leftover half-square triangles,
though I'm sure it's been made before. It's too simple not to have been thought of before!
I can see this one in traditional fabric, maybe Civil War or 1900 reproductions, or made from shirts. I envision it in "controlled scrappy", using a light where the yellow is, maybe a dark where the red is, and a medium for the rest. Basically, just to emphasize the diagonal lines that the yellow and the red create. It's a very simple block, yet has interesting possibilities.

I've decided to postpone my fabric acquisition/depletion records until January. (I've been bad...shhhh!) I'll just concentrate on finishing UFOs. I have 5 more that are very close to completion. Yeah!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Grandma's favorite recipes

A few years ago, I found my Grandma Nelson's handwritten recipe notebook in my mother's things. She died in 1963, and I'm sorry that I never got to know her. I can only learn about her through photos, and through simple items like this notebook:

There are dozens of recipes in this notebook, and I keep meaning to try them all. Many of these recipes are for cakes and cookies. There is one for real Spaghetti Sauce that calls for 1 cup of olive oil. Sounds good, but...well....oily!
I did make this one for Tamale Loaf and it was good. In fact, I think I remember my mom making it when we were little. (click on photo to enlarge)

Grandma Nelson was more of an outdoors person and was not a quilter, but she did hand sew some fan pieces for a Grandmother's Fan quilt, in pretty 1930's & 1940's prints. I ended up with those and someday will finish them into a small quilt. I'm sentimental, but these kinds of things mean so much to me! I surf on ebay sometimes, and come across people selling their grandmother's, or even great-grandmother's, quilts or quilt tops! I guess they have their reasons, but it is so hard for me to imagine doing that!

I've sewn my Haunted Mountains blocks into columns, and I love the way it's looking...very Halloween-ish! I won't have my camera for a few weeks, so no photos yet.

After a hot, hot summer, it's finally starting to get colder here in the Ozarks, and I'm loving it!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Halloween blog hop

I've never participated in a Blog Hop. In fact, I never even heard of one! I stumbled across this one on Godrun's World blog, with a Halloween theme. It involves visiting the blogs of specific fabric and/or pattern designers, on designated dates. It sounds like fun, and as a bonus the designers give away cool prizes!
Now...I'll just have to write down all the different date so I don't forget to show up!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Haunted Mountains quilt

I've been wanting to make a Halloween quilt with an antique feel to it, and over time I've gathered black and orange shirts for that purpose. The "oranges" range from light orange to rust. I chose Bonnie Hunter's pattern Scrappy Mountains Majesty, which she generously offers for free on her Quiltville website. If you love scrappy quilts, you'll spend hours on her website!

The blocks are finished and I'm starting to put them together. Here is a sampling of my fabrics, which entirely came from recycled garments, mostly shirts:
My favorites, shown above, are the madder-like leaf print, the black with squares, and the black stripe which looks like a mourning print. They really have an antique style to them.
So far, I really like how these black and orange fabrics look together. I am working to get this done well before Halloween, so I can actually enjoy it this year! I'll be calling my quilt Haunted Mountains, instead of Scrappy Mountains Majesty.

Aside from this, I quilted one top today and started on another. I hope to get more UFOs done this month, and the days are slipping by fast! Hard to believe it's officially Autumn!


Random reading program

Occasionally I come across a blog where the owner has embarked on methodically reading their way through the alphabet. I found that idea intriguing, and decided to start my own reading program. I'm going to be reading fiction from A to Z, by author's last name, with the books chosen at random from my public library's shelves. By random, I mean standing in the section that applies, closing my eyes, and picking a book totally at random!
Why random? I want to force myself to read books that are totally different than what I would normally choose to read. Plus, I love surprises! Each new letter will bring a new surprise.
I've already read the letter "A" book, which is The River Wife, by Jonis Agee.

This book, set in southeastern Missouri on the Mississippi River, began in 1811 during the New Madrid earthquake. The story, spanning generations, followed a family from the early 1800's to the 1930's. I would classify this as historical fiction. It was clear that the author did some research on the area and the different time periods.
This book was well written and held my interest. Every time I sat down to read, I was quickly drawn into the story. The characters were well developed and believable.
If you're prone to melancholy, however, this is not the book for you. The plot seemed to focus on the dark side of life, with an abundance of human tragedy, sadness and violence.
I identified with the book because of the setting, and because I love history. My own family settled in Missouri around 1850, a few hundred miles from where this book is set. My family, however, didn't experience even a fraction of the drama and passion of the family in the book!
I enjoyed this book, and would like to read more from this same author.
I'm looking forward to my random "B" pick!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Apple season

I love all the trees in my yard. I just love trees! They are green and shady, and convert our carbon dioxide back into oxygen, if I remember correctly.
This Red Delicious apple tree is about 3 years old. We planted it, and like all trees that we planted ourselves, it's my baby! This year it's had lots of apples. Being a novice orchardist, I didn't know you were supposed to thin out the apples when they were small. As they grew bigger, they thinned themselves by falling off the tree!

The fallen apples weren't mature yet, and were more like Granny Smith and were delicious in baking. One result is this Apple Crisp with cranberries, which turned out really yummy!

It's a Weight Watcher's recipe from one of my books. I hesitate to post it here because I'm not sure of copyright issues, but I'd be happy to share if requested. One generous serving (1/4 of the pan) has only 3 WW points. It is light on the sugar, but was sweet enough for me. One could easily add more sugar. I plopped a bit of vanilla ice cream on top and it was great!

I've recently gotten back on Weight Watchers, and so far so good.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Two UFOs done!

I finished two UFOs today! They are both kid-size, destined to be donation quilts.
I drafted this first one from a photograph of a quilt that I saw in a catalog. The pattern was called "Serengeti", and was easy to make. I love digging through my stash to match up fabrics that play well together.

This 2nd UFO is a string quilt. It was so fun to make & those strings are addicting! I put the red centers on skewed, instead of exactly in the center of each block.
I machine-sewed the binding down on both of these quilts. They'll be donation quilts, and that method is faster and more durable than hand sewing, in my opinion. I'm still getting the hang of it. At first, I attempted to machine-sew down the mitered corners just using pin basting, but it got all twisted and distorted, and really frustrating. Now, I hand-sew just the corners, like I would normally hand-sew binding. Then, when I machine-sew that area, the stitching goes smooth and looks nice. Definitely worth the extra effort!

I also learned, for future quilts, to find a binding
fabric that blends in better with the backing. I had to be really careful to sew the dark blue thread in just the right spot to keep it from showing on the lighter-colored backing fabric. I managed to most of the time, except for a few small areas. I think after the quilt is washed it will look better. Actually it's hard to notice, but I know it's there!

I've had TV on while sewing, listening to the 9-11 programs. The tributes are so moving and bittersweet. So many heroes emerged on such a tramatic day, often sacrificing their own lives. I only hope that if, someday, I find myself in similar situations that I would choose the heroic route.


UFOs finished to date: 5

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It's been a long, long time............

.....since I made a blog post. I'll try to do better!

I intended to use the blog to keep track of UFO progress, and of acquisition & depletion of fabric. Like many quilters, I have a large fabric stash. Every year, fabric designers create more & more beautiful fabric, and I just can't sew fast enough to keep up! My goal, for the rest of this year, is to dispose of (use up or donate) a net of at least 10 yards of fabric per month. I got off to a bad start this month. I visited the sale room at a local quilt store and took these home:

It's about 8.75 yards of fabric. The light color yardage is a good neutral reproduction print and the brownish fabric will make a great antique-looking backing, perhaps for a civil-war or 1890-1900 era quilt. Reproduction fabrics are my weakness!

As for UFOs, well, I only finished 3 so far this year. I've worked on lots and lots of projects, but I lose enthusiasm when it comes to sandwiching and quilting. I have 4 projects that are almost done and I intend to finish them this month.

This is the book I'm currently reading:
Yes, it's a history textbook. And no, I'm not taking a class. I took history years ago in high school & college, but forgot most of it. I just need a refresher class so I don't feel so ignorant about our country's beginnings, and this book is interesting and easy to read, probably high school or freshman college. I bought it at a thrift store, and it's in perfect condition, likely never read.

I'm trying to read about 25 pages a day, and at over 1,000 pages that will take several months! I'm in no hurry. After this one, I have a college political science textbook to read. I want to be more informed on how all the branches of our government works.


UFOs YTD - 3
Fabric status beginning 9-1-10 - + 8.75 yds