Monday, April 7, 2014

Sweet Dreams

Hello dear friends, I'm afraid it's been quite a while since my last post.  But I've been so side tracked by a variety of things around here.  Hubby finally took a few vacation days and we made a couple short visits to family and friends.  But Spring is finally in the air here in Minnesota and the snow is rapidly melting away.

The embroidery feature on my Elna has been hard at work.  A new batch of mug rugs went up to the Ashland Historical Society gift shop when we visited our daughter.  While the machine was all set up for embroidery I tried this sweet design on some pillowcases.
This "Sweet Dreams" pattern is from an old Workbasket Magazine, and the digitized pattern is on a CD which came with the book "Redwork from The Workbasket" by Rebecca Kemp Brent.  I have such a fondness for those vintage Workbasket magazines.  I have a couple year's worth from my Grandmother that were published around 1960.  Times sure have changed!  The role of women in the family, and certainly the prices are dramatically different.  I don't think you'd earn much selling handmade craft items for 10 cents today!

Friday, March 21, 2014

'Heart'felt gift

The past few days I've been working on this sweet little table runner to give as a gift to a young couple who have been active at our church.  We met several years ago through Committee work there.  They will be married later this month.

The pattern is Winter Palace Table  Runner, a free pattern from Maywood Studio.  The center of the pattern is a 9 inch block, and I've used a paper pieced heart block.  This is such a great pattern for using up a UFO block on point!

A lesson learned here was that using two fabrics with relatively the same density of pattern, but in opposite colors, doesn't really give much contrast.  The eye just blends the white-on-navy and the navy-on-white.  I added some bright 1 1/2 inch buttons to bring out the contrasting blocks, and it helped. The runner is quilted with a combination of straight lines, waves and feathers and was a fun little project to make.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Little Shamrock ornament

Really, I'm not much one for working with teeny tiny pieces.  But these little ornament blocks are so cute that I just can't resist!  I tucked one of these heart ornaments into the Valentine cards I sent the 'kids', and just had to come up with one for St. Patrick's day.  I made a larger version too, so check the bottom of the post for that.

Here are the parts you need:
2 inch squares: 3 green and 1 white
3/4 inch squares: 6 white
1 x 2.5 inch strips: 2 white
1 x 3.5 inch strips: 2 white
4 inch square: 1 white (backing)
4 inch square: batting
1/4 1/8 inch wide ribbon: 8.5 inches
pinking shears

Let's get started:
Place a small white square in the corner of a green square.  Stitch across the diagonal.  It's so tiny that I didn't feel I needed to mark it.   Repeat so that all three green squares have white squares on three of the corners.  Flip and press to the corners.  Clip off excess on the corners if you wish.

Stitch a generous 2 inch section of ribbon across the white 2 inch square - starting in one corner and angling slightly to one side - for your shamrock stem. (You could also just zigzag a stem or hand embroider if you prefer.)

Stitch the 2 inch blocks together into a four-patch as shown.  Layer the batting and backing pieces.  Using a quilt-as-you-go method, lay the folded back four-patch with the center edge in the center of the batting and stitch through all layers.  Flip open.

Add white border strips by stitching through all layers and flipping open.  Finger press as you go.  Top-stitch the borders about 1/2 inch from the inside edge, using your machine foot as a guide.  Trim outside your top-stitching with a pinking shears.  With the remaining 6 inches of ribbon, add a loop at the top corner to hang your ornament.

The little shamrock block finishes at 2 inches and the entire ornament finishes at 3 inches square.

But, teeny tiny isn't always what we need.

The same shamrock block can be made to finish at 3 inches, which makes a nice size for lots of small projects.

For this table topper which finished at about 12 inches square I made two 3-inch (finished) shamrock blocks and paired them with two 4-patch blocks made from 2-inch squares.

The shamrock blocks each are made with:
2 inch squares: 3 green and 1 white
1 inch squares: 6 white
1/4   1/8 inch wide ribbon: 2.5 inches

The borders are each cut at 2 inches wide.
Can't wait to quilt this up!

Adding a Friday link-up with Sarah

Monday, February 24, 2014

Orphan blocks unite!

Not long ago I was poking through my box of orphan blocks and pulled together several that were left over from different projects.   Here's what I ended up with:

The center has hourglass blocks in light blue & tan along with yellow & white HSTs.  The outer ring of HSTs are from a different project.  The center square of deep rose pulls the colors together and gives a focus point. I tried out a new free-motion quilting pattern from The Inbox Jaunt and I like how it turned out.  It looks like stippling in the photo, but it's really flowers that look a lot like Chrysanthemums to me.  Lori calls it "Flower Power."  Finished size is just under 20 inches square.

Doesn't it look like springtime? The pastel colors are so refreshing in the midst of this long, cold winter.

The other thing I did this weekend was start a new Blog.   Do you always get stuck trying to come up with dinner menu ideas?  I certainly do.  So, at Weekly Menu from Mom I'm publishing some easy menu ideas and hopefully some people will find it helpful. (Like my adult children.)  I am worried though...The only time my son calls me seems to be when he needs a recipe or cooking directions. I'm afraid when he finally learns to cook that he may never call his mom any more!  (LOL)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

More snow

After two glorious days, sunny and warm (well, above freezing anyway) another winter storm is passing through.  They were predicting at least 6 inches, but I don't think we'll get that much. Unlike most of our snow this winter, it's not fluffy or dry.  It's wet.  Big, fat, sleety, raining off the trees, sloppy wet!  It will break your back snow shoveling, but...

It's perfect for making a snowman.  Hubby came home early and caught me in the act.  But I am unrepentant.  Who says you have to act your age?

It was nice to take a break for some fresh air.  I am getting the chance to Quilt Awhile today too. A couple more Block B's of Celtic Solstice are in the works.  It's coming along.

Friday, February 14, 2014

On Valentine's Day...

It is such a delight to be able to connect with you throughout the year, to receive your kind words of encouragement here on Quilt Awhile, and to be able to visit your blog in return to enjoy seeing your lovely quilting projects.

And so, with inspiration from Kathleen Tracy's small quilts, here are a couple of spool blocks in a little 12-inch quilt to celebrate Valentine's Day and our mutual love of Quilting.

Will you be my Valentine today?


Thursday, February 13, 2014

An explosion of activity

The scrap basket has become so full that the lid won't close, and the last straw was when the bag of 3-inch scraps basically exploded on me yesterday  morning.  Something had to be done!
Oklahoma Backroads blocks

So, abandoning all other more important projects I quickly searched around for something, ANYTHING, that could be made with 3 inch blocks.  I didn't look too far, Quiltville to the rescue! Oklahoma Backroads by Bonnie Hunter looked perfect.  Bonnie Hunter's scrappy patterns are so much fun, but alas, she works mostly with 2.5 inch blocks.

Not to be discouraged, I decided that the Quilt Police didn't live at my house.  And... I did actually get a Math degree in college (back in the Middle Ages,) so let's use that knowledge for a change.

Only one small adjustment: my blocks need to be  3 x 3 and 3 x 5.5.  Works for me!  So I dumped the bag of 3-inch scraps out on the table.  All the longer pieces were cut into 3 x 5.5's.  The remainders were cut into 3-inch squares.  What was leftover became 2-inch squares for my leader/ender project.  Not much left after that but a few 1.5-inch blocks that went back into the scrap basket.
Split Nine-Patch blocks

So I turned on the Olympic Games and started sewing Oklahoma Backroads.  The 4 bonus HST's that are made from each block can be trimmed to 2-inch blocks and, zip zip, by adding 3 light and 3 dark 2-inch scraps I can make a Split Nine-Patch leader/ender.  Not bad progress.

I'll just make up about 16 Oklahoma Backroads  blocks to use up those scraps and assemble the quilt later.  I need to get back to my 'must do' projects, but a little creative break might be just what I need.

It is a 'creative break' isn't it, and not just procrastination?