Tuesday, December 5, 2017

More from the 16 patch farm!

  The baby quilt is pinned for quilting and the binding is pressed and ready for finishing.  Just the quilting needs to be done.  I am seeking inspiration on that part or I will be resigned to meandering.  But I have a few days to contemplate it all. 


  So I visited the 16 patch farm.....the blocks were sitting by the iron and needed the final pressing.  I put up a crop of the darker blocks--shade garden blocks---to the left.  To the right went the second crop of the lighter blocks that jumble together like a country garden. 
  I could see a couple of blocks that needed to be switched to the other side.  Why so  narrow, you ask?  My thought here was to make narrow throws for the foot of the bed---foot warmer style.  I sort of thought they would be more useful for us. 
  Since the blocks will finish at 6'', I need to make a few more to have enough length.


    Over the weekend I made more  blocks while watching a movie.  Then I began playing on the design wall....and everything got jumbled and moved around.   Seeing the photo now, I think I made a mistake.  I like this better on the design wall but not in the photo. 

Insight:  Remember this trick....a photo does not lie.  I need to like the photo and the design wall layout!
 
That's okay, I can take it all down and add a few more blocks to the mix.  Then I can see what the farm crop yields the next time:)

  Two small trees are decorated and a few bit of Christmas decor spread around.  A small bit of shopping is done, and list made for food items to buy and bake.  Now if the weather would cool off enough to be able to heat up the ovens for cookies.  Maybe next weekend. 
Happy stitching. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Ending and beginning/ November to December


    November began with the Scrappy Mountains quilt blocks that became Mountain Reflections.  Luckily it was finished up in time to get the photos with the fabulous fall color we had. 
    Multiple doctor appointments kept us on the road and confused the calendar for this month.  At the month's end, there is one more visit to the dreaded medical office, and I should be clear of that stuff for a few months. 

  I also began some hourglass blocks which have been set aside for later....if ever:)    I got caught up in thinking I would do the Quiltville mystery quilt but instead the fabrics needed to go into a  quilt that will be required by February.  Namely a baby quilt for dear and young friends.
 


   Just a corner of the baby quilt made with orange peel appliqued shapes for now.  I ended up adding a couple of borders to enlarge it a bit.  I cut the extra fabric up for binding, and now I need the backing to get it quilted.
   This is the main task for December.   I am hoping to get it completed and mailed before the new year...... Heather is due in Feb, but I want it there before the day!

  So no mystery fabrics now and the first clue is out.  I am just biding my time and will decide if I am going all in for this one or not.  I will just download the clues for now. 

 
   Instead I moved on to the 16 patch. 
  I have an even bigger stack of assorted blocks. More than enough now to play around on the design wall and see what happens.   I talked about a shade garden versus a country garden mix of blocks, and I continue  along those lines.  As I pull strips to pair that is the theme I  try to imagine.
  So once I get the baby quilt down for quilting, I will play a bit with these blocks again.  Fair warning to those who start in on some 16 patch blocks....they are quite addictive.  Worse than potato chips!

December plans.....quilt the baby quilt, play with the 16 patch, maybe pin the D4P that is hanging around.  Bake some cookies, take naps, have some coffee....all the comforting things like that.   
Happy stitching. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Sewing on

  One set of appointments done, 2 more this week....ugh!  But I am thankful they are just check ups and check ins.  Except for the mammogram this week, but we will not think of that yet.  I have some blocks to show that I have stitched a bit.

 
   The first four blocks are pressed, fused and appliqued down for the baby quilt...... and the remaining blocks are set to go under the needle.  I will be stealing time between the appointments and a little bit of baking this week to work on these during the day.  I am using a pale yellow Aurifil thread for the buttonhole stitch on them, so that means using the Janome for stitching.













  The 16 patch blocks......I am loving them and the entire process from the selecting fabrics, sewing stratas, sub-cuts, and sewing again.  If you need a good/excellent tutorial for a 16 patch block, I have just the place for you to learn.  At Exuberant Color, Wanda has put together a perfect tutorial on her technique....click here. 
   I was inspired by her garden series projects to try this.  So the only way to learn, for me is to do.  I did a few.    Here's the mix of what I have sewn so far using 2'' strips. 






  Here is the cropped version of what I think will be in the "shade garden"  quilt.    Or maybe a couple of them need to shift to the country garden one.  Time will tell.

  I have more strata strips sets sewn and I work on them in spare moments or while watching TV in the evenings.  The Featherweight is perfect for this project. 







  I took a couple of photos to share the fabric selection part of the process.  I thought I would see how a light version and a darker version worked on the same floral print.   The upper block has a medium to light mottled fabric verses the dark plum in the bottom.  Quite a difference....the top one is mellow--country garden, and the bottom has drama--shade garden-- and the green in the print pops more to me. 













  The floral in this print has a lot of value difference....dark areas and light areas.  The top photo it is paired with a batik and then with a deep plum fabric.  I think both will work in the shade garden version. 


  The selection of the pairs is an interesting exercise for figuring out contrasts.  The shade garden needs enough contrast to be seen, but not too strong overwhelm.  I need to dig deeper into the stash for the alternate fabric for pairing with the florals. 

  So that's the plan for the week.....stitch between appointments, bake a few things ahead for Christmas.  We aren't doing a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving.....crazy for the 2 of us.  It's eat out or have a steak in....lol.  We have a beautiful week of weather, I plan on stealing moments to enjoy it.
Happy stitching. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Those 16 patch blocks

  I put together a couple of the 16 patch this afternoon to see what I had come up with. 













    I immediately saw 2 different  gardens.....a country garden and a shade garden.    All of the combinations in this photo remind me of a country garden.   The type with a few weeds, volunteer plants, some shade and bright sun. 

  Selecting the 2 fabrics to pair together is the hardest part for sure.  If the contrast fabric to the floral is too busy, the combo will be quite muddy.








   In this group I paired dark batiks and a dark green with brighter florals.   This says shade garden to me, which is fine by me.  I'm just not quite sure how it will all combine. 

  I have plenty of floral strips already cut, so I have a huge selection to pick from.  The darker contrast takes more time to hunt down.  Since this is an experiment to see what happens, and what I like, I'll just mix and match till I am satisfied. 








  The first 4 blocks of the orange peels are ready for stitching down.  The color is a bit off here, but these blocks make me smile.  I see a happy little girl twirling and laughing.  Exactly what I think these fabrics need. 


So I have plenty of work for me this week.
Happy stitching. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Trust the instincts

   Changing the plans for the baby quilt involved changing other plans, too.  It's one of those ideas that seems to grow on its own and affects anything in its path.  First, I thought I would do something scrappy and quick, and after 3 or 4 blocks of scrappy  I realized that would not make me happy or satisfied.    I put the blocks aside for another adventure later.  Nothing cam to me, so I decided to sleep on it a day or two.
 
  Second,  the fabrics I had pulled for the upcoming mystery were stacked on the thread cabinet and making sad faces at me.    These were not my colors or style of fabrics at all.  My instinct said I would never be happy or even finish a mystery in this vein.  And somewhere, long ago in my insight list I wrote:

          InsightTrust my instincts.  That is why I have them.  

     Saturday was cold and rainy, the sewing room was warm and bright.  Right off my creative muse changed gears and moved things around.

   Those fabrics for the mystery were turned into a pile of orange peel units!  Big fat ones ready for applique on to a creamy yellow background.  I added a few purple and blue prints to the scheme of things.   My instinct is much more satisfied and happy with this direction.   The combination smiles and says special little girl now. 



 
 I mentioned the 16 patch blocks last week, so in between other things, I did pull out strips and begin to cut them to length for a single block in different combos.   I am not sure of how I want this one to play out, so I thought just a few variations would provide a bit of inspiration....or so I hope. 


Anyway, my main task is to begin appliqueing the orange peel units.  Then we can see if the instinct was right:)

Happy stitching. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Mountain Reflection

   The most beautiful golden and rust colored leaves are decorating the Painted Maple in the front yard.   Early this spring when we had the tree guys work on some of them, they shaped this one up so nice.  As this is the first year it had showy color, maybe their work paid off.   They left me a couple of good limbs for quilt showing, too. 





   I did the quilting on this in a meandering loop as an all over design.  It's a good open design and will give lots of soft texture.  This should be a cuddly lap throw. 








  I used the straight layout for the Scrappy Mountain Majesty blocks.  The pattern is here with good tutorial. 
   I did this pattern once before several years ago and used the staggered layout.  This one reminds me of reflections or shadows, hence the name, Mountain Reflections

  I started with 8 1/2'' large squares of floral fabrics  this time around.  The blocks finish up at 6'' by 7 1/2''.




   So after taking a gob/gazillion photos in the tree, I turned around a saw the Japanese Maple in the side yard.  It has the deep burgundy red leaves and it very showy itself.  So one last photo. 












 

   I attached the binding and label this morning.   And called it done.  Of course, it needs a good wash after being drug around the yard. 








 

Mountain Reflections:
  Size is 42'' by 56'', a small throw size.
  One last look before the leaves fall with the expected rains this week.


    And now I need to turn my attention to the baby quilt that will be gifted to Chad and Amber.  Her due date is February, so I feel the need to get started.   I don't move as quick as I did.....so I must begin the cutting.

 That's my main task for the month, although I have a very long list of things/quilts/projects I want to start on....lol.  The usual lament. 
   Baby quilt first,   hourglass blocks as leader and enders, and  begin  sorting fabrics for a 16 patch using up florals, what else would you expect?   The 16 patch is inspired by Exuberant Color.    Wanda did a series of "garden" quilts a few years ago using this method.  She is working on another one, and the bug bit me to try one too.    Happy stitching. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Hourglass leader/ender units

  Like the rest of those doing the Quiltville Mystery 2017, I began pulling fabric.    I ran across this fabric in a bin that I had intended to do as a bargello.  It has a very similar color palette, maybe just a bit more red than orange.  I will put it in the coral stack and see if it works.






    I found a lot of scraps for the blue/aqua/turquoise.  My pile runs the gamut from light to darker tones......it will depend on the placement as to what will work best in the mystery quilt.




Silhouettes at Sunset color scheme from Clever Chameleon  I'm not going to photo share all my scraps as many are just strips and chunks, not good FQ size.  I can always add or pick up extra as I go along.    And I am still debating on the brown....chocolate I love but have little of in the stash.  And then I ran across this color palette on Clever Chameleon.  A very similar color set....with the addition of purple.  I am wondering if the brown could be shifted to plum and burgundy. 

This is not a race, but lessons in cutting, accuracy, and following directions.  LOL.....not the best in any of those areas now, so let the mystery happen to me.


   What I really wanted to do this weekend was get the Double 4 Patch together and pressed.  I have one more row to go and it will be ready to join the 2 sections I have created.  I mentioned that along the way I was working on another type of leader and ender.

  So here is a tip/trick I picked up when trimming HSTs---or in this case hourglass units.   Once you have sewn on the diagonal lines and cut the sections apart, trim before you press open.  I marked a ruler using painter's tape to point to the line I want to line up with the sewn seam line.   That is the sewn seam line, not the cut edge of the fabric.  You can see my cut edge is wobbly.....but the seam line is straight.  I line up the marked line on the sewn line , and the vertical arrows on this ruler are perfect for keeping the hourglass blocks straight.  Then I  trim the HST before pressing  open.....as the block in the upper left corner.



   My hourglass blocks are ending up at 3 1/2'' unfinished.  I started with 4 1/2'' square or larger.  I say that because I am clearing out a mixed up blend of extra squares, unused squares, charm squares.....any square leftover or not used that is 4 1/2'' or more.  I will just stack these up for now, either intending them for a border---I think they would look good just strung together---or turn them into block units.

Along the way, I pulled out my old iron for pressing.  It is a Light n' Easy from about 1985....lol.  And it is much lighter that my Rowenta.  My wrist and hands have been so painful and sore with the season change, I knew I could not use the larger iron.   Maybe older is better for me.
Happy stitching.
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