Friday, May 22, 2015

Quilts at Civic Plaza

It's been a busy week!  One thing that was accomplished was putting up a new display at Bloomington Civic Plaza.  It's Quilts!
The display includes:
1930's Nursery Rhyme embroidered quilt
1885 Victorian Crazy Quilt
1920's Yo-Yo coverlet
Late 1800's Log Cabin Quilt, courthouse steps layout
Two wool lap quilts from the 1940's or so
Reproductions of two 1905 doll quilts
Reproduction of 1893 Pond Dakota Album Quilt
and a 1910 Singer sewing machine.

I was glad to see today that they are keeping the lights off in the cabinet to protect the quilts, even though the display cabinet has special conservator lights and glass.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sailing along

Just popping in to post a photo of a little quilt finished yesterday.  I worked on hand stitching the binding while spending the afternoon as volunteer receptionist at our Church.
Sailboats 32-1/4 x 23-1/4.  
This is a larger version of a Kathleen Tracy signature quilt.  I had larger sized scrap blocks on hand, so that's what I used.  My sister thought the blocks looked like sail boats, so I wrote a little poem to write on the sails.
"Sail boats on a sunny day
Little do they mind,
They skip along
The sparkling waves and
Leave their cares behind."
and I signed and dated the last block.

Sis has an electrical panel box that she would like to hide with a small quilt.  This might be just the right size.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Oh, Danny Boy...

Danny Boy  18.5 inches square  - traditional block
This little one-block table-topper was started on St. Patrick's Day/  Though it didn't take long to make, it sat in the hand-binding pile for a few months.  Finally, it is finished!

It is a traditional block pattern which I found in Maggie Malone's book "5,500 Quilt Block Designs."  Sometimes I just look through the book and find a design name I like - and make one for fun.

I remember my Irish grandfather singing 'Danny Boy' in his old Irish tenor voice.

Today my nephew Dan graduates and we couldn't be prouder of all he has accomplished.  It has been a long road for him, but today he receives his Bachelors degrees in Clinical Medical Technology and Microbiology.  Hooray for our Danny Boy!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Friends and Companions finish

The third version of Friends and Companions is done.  Someone remind me to just make a decision and only make one mystery quilt next time!   Here is the version closest to the original colors, and another UFO completed (this one was started July 2014).

The quilting is mostly stitch-in-the-ditch, but I did some free motion stippling in the blue setting blocks and it went very well.  I'm getting much more confident at it and will probably do more in the future.

As you can see, we were up at the Lake when I finished the binding.  The leaves are barely peeking out on the trees.  The dock and boat are in, and we took our first pontoon sunset cruise of the season!

After much deliberation I've decided to put off quilting up Grand Illusion.  For some reason it just doesn't look right to me.  I suppose it's the colors I used - or perhaps the light/dark values aren't working for me.  On the other hand, I LOVE the border.  At any rate, after consulting with Hubby and Sis, both of whom find it too busy, I'll set it aside and ponder whether or not to make some changes.   So, the next UFO on the list will be one of my Bonnie Hunter tops that I like much better.  Easy Street?  Celtic Solstice? Lazy Sunday?  There are several to choose from!

I've now quilted up all the smaller UFO's on the list and only have 5 queen size remaining.   I'll have to clear off the dining room table again to have a surface that will support quilting a queen size quilt.  No long arm quilting here I'm afraid.  There are also several small quilts that just need bindings hand sewn, so you'll be seeing those get finished up one by one.  Plus, I'm always starting something new.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

May Basket

It's May Day!  How did it come so soon?  Spring is in the air, and the violets, bleeding hearts and dandelions are starting to bloom here in Minnesota.

May Basket mini - 15 inches square.
As a child, we used to make May Baskets on the first of May and give them to Mother.  We would use the pint sized square plastic baskets that strawberries came in.  They were perfect for weaving a bit of ribbon through the openings and filling with tissue paper flowers.  (May 1st is still a little early for fresh flowers here, but that didn't stop us.)

Here's a May Basket to share with you that I just finished today using a single traditional May Basket block.

 I was going to make each triangle a different color 'flower', but then I stumbled across this bright mottled fabric that was with some scraps my sister-in-law gifted me when she was cleaning out her sewing room.

Did you ever celebrate May Day?  I don't think many do, but on the other hand, I think every day is worth celebrating!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

In the sewing room

Lots of time spent in the sewing room these past few days, but not a lot of quilting done.  My machine is busily embroidering the Harbor Breakwater Lighthouse on dish towels and aprons for the Ashland, WI museum. They will celebrate the centennial of the 1915 lighthouse this July, and would like to have items for the gift shop.

Lots of thread breaks at first with the embroidery, but after changing brands of thread, and changing the Schmetz needle twice, I switched to an Organ brand needle from a pack I picked up at the Sewing and Quilting Expo this year.  Finally, problems mostly solved!  The count so far:  4 out of 9 aprons and 8 out of 15 towels done.  Each takes about 45 minutes to do.

While I'm babysitting the embroidery machine I've been sandwiching and pin basting some small quilts that are in my pile.  Hopefully there will be finishes ahead to show you next week!  Tomorrow afternoon I plan to visit the Historic Pond House in Bloomington to do some hand sewing with "Mrs. Pond."  Hopefully some hand binding will get finished.

One more UFO finished this past week.  My Autumn version of the Friends and Companions Sew Along that was started last July is quilted and bound.  TA DA!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

First finishes since February

Two finishes over the weekend!
First is a little 12 inch mini for Easter.  My neighbor, who is a lovely Greek lady (and makes the best home made baklava), celebrated Orthodox Easter this weekend.  So I think I can still say I finished in time for Easter. I just had to hand sew the binding in the car on the way to the lake.
Easter with my Peeps - mini 12 inch square
A close-up for brighter colors.

The other quilt that had binding hand stitched on this week was a UFO!  I started Shoo Fly Pie in April 2012 as part of a color challenge.  We were challenged to make a quilt from colors from a posted photograph, colors we would not normally use together.

I had a very busy small print floral that I loved, but it never was right for anything!  It had all the right colors in it for this challenge.  It was still too busy for me at first, and I started and stopped, ripped out and re-sewed again to make half dark and half light. I was stuck for a while until my sister suggested adding the navy blue blocks to anchor the colors.  It was just what this quilt needed!  Finally, this is the result.
Shoo Fly Pie quilted tablecloth 51 inches square
I can't make a shoo fly block without humming the song "Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy."  My mother used to sing that all the time in the kitchen.  I was thinking of her, and her home made pies, when I made the pie in the center. The crust is a wide tan rick-rack top-stitched over the seam of the drunkard's path blocks.  I used a lightweight summer cotton blanket for backing and plan to use this quilt as a tablecloth up at the lake.  Especially when we're serving pie!