crafts · Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Tiny Pineapples

I’ve been working my way through my list of Unfinished Projects this year. I was on quite a roll, then stalled a bit over the past couple of weeks. I’ve been working on some other projects that aren’t craft-related, have been planning some summer adventures, and have been helping move college kids back home.

My piano room presently looks like a hoarder lives here as Middle Daughter has to move back to college next week for her summer classes and we piled all her things in there when we unloaded the car rather than put them away for such a short period of time.

Son came home with mountains of laundry a week later, claiming he’d run out of Tide Pods a few weeks before the end of the semester. I can finally see the floor in the laundry room again…after days of tripping over hoodies and blankets–he sleeps under no less than 10 blankets every night–and underwear.

With my days spent moving laundry from the floor to the washer to the dryer, my sewing time has decreased significantly. However, I did manage to eke out some time to work on a few tiny paper-pieced pineapples.

These pineapples measure just over 3″ square and are great for all those tiny scraps!. I found the pattern at https://www.thelittlemushroomcap.com/paper-pieced-3-pineapple-log-cabin-block-mini-quilt-progress-free-paper-piecing-template-a-video/.

Originally I made a stack of these blocks with lights where the darks are in the above photo. As I laid them out, planning how I was going to arrange them, I decided that I liked the look of alternating blocks with lights and darks in the corners. So now I’m working on creating a stack of what I’ll call dark blocks. (Like the one above. Below you can see the difference between the “lights” and the “darks.”)

I haven’t yet decided how large this quilt will be. Considering all of the time involved I will probably choose to hang this one on the wall rather than have out where it can be used.

crafts · Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Conquering the Unfinished Projects

I have no idea where the last two weeks went.

Oh, wait. Yes, I do.

I had to block off a lot of hours last week for worrying. Yes, worrying.

Our middle child (actually an adult) ended up in the emergency room of a hospital a couple hours away earlier in the month. After a few tests, a tentative diagnosis was reached, and she was told to follow up with her physician. She did. At that visit, lab work showed the problem had worsened. Had I not already been worrying, I would have started then. She was referred to a surgeon, and I spent an afternoon at the hospital with her while she underwent some more testing. As of yet, no real diagnosis has been reached, but she’s feeling much better. So the hope is that whatever caused her issues was just a temporary blip.

I will say, and I’ve joked with her about this since her time in the recovery room, that the show she gave me as she came down off whatever good drugs they gave her was worth the price of admission, i.e. what insurance isn’t covering. She was swearing. She was saying goofy, inappropriate things. And she was loud. I was glad there was a curtain around her recovery cubicle so no one could see us in there. This is a smallish town! Someone might know us! It all made for a good story to tell the relatives, though.

I found a little time to sew last weekend, but with two of the kids home from college, there wasn’t time to share anything here. This past week I found more time to sew, and yesterday I finished my 4-patch Little Squares quilt top, a project that has been in an unfinished state for a couple years.

The top consists of 1,152 1-1/2″ squares made into 4-patch units combined with 2-1/2″ cream squares. The colored scraps making up the border are 2-1/2″. The outer cream border measures 1-1/2″ wide. This made a smaller lapsize quilt. All of the fabric, except for the cream, used in this quilt is from my never-ending, ever-growing stash of scraps.

I vow to conquer the procrastination tendencies that seem to arise at this point of a project. I WILL get a backing sewn. I WILL get it pinned. I WILL get the quilting done. I WILL get it bound. Am I the only one who hates sewing backings and doing the pinning?

crafts · Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Little Squares

It’s been a week.

A rough week.

I enjoyed a bit of sewing and cross-stitching time last weekend, then Monday hit.

And with Monday came the stomach flu and a week of feeling not quite right. I’ve been doing a lot of napping and lazing about on the couch with my faithful canine companions by my side. I hope this coming week finds me out of this ick funk that I’m in so I can get back to the things that I enjoy.

(Not that I don’t enjoy lazing about on the couch. I just don’t like doing it for days at a time.)

After finishing the Lemon Pepper quilt and matching pillows I decided I’d get back to my unfinished project list and work on something that had been gathering dust for a while. I chose what I’ll refer to as my “Little Squares” project.

Little Squares is made up of so many…you guessed it…little squares. I’m doing four-patch blocks with 1 1/2″ squares. These four-patch blocks are combined with a 2 1/2″ block of cream fabric.

After a bit of calculating, I discovered that I need 1,152 little squares to make the quilt the size I wanted. That’s a lot!

Here are a couple of progress photos. I’m hoping for nine of the larger units in the finished quilt, so I’d say I’m nearly halfway there.

As I cut up my scraps into the tiny squares, I’m adding a lot of even smaller scraps to my itty-bitty scrap container. These will come in handy when I get back to my miniature paper-pieced pineapple blocks.

crafts · Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

A Trio of Pillows

Did we need more pillows?

Probably not.

As it is, one of our couches has just enough un-pillowed space left for a single dog to enjoy a siesta when she’s feeling antisocial in the evenings and chooses to relax in a different room than her humans and her doggy “brother.”

Did I make more pillows?

Yep.

You can never have too many, right?

Besides, I had numerous scraps left from the Lemon Pepper Quilt–little bits that had already been sewn together which could be trimmed up and pieced together to make pillow tops.

I also had enough larger scraps left that, with a bit of piecing, could be used to make backs for the pillows.

I trimmed the already pieced bits down to 2 1/4″ strips and sewed four of these strips together to make a block. Each pillow top had 4 blocks, 2 going vertically and 2 going horizontally. I added a black border and quilted the tops in a similar style as I had the Lemon Pepper quilt (kind of an all-over straight line quilting 1/4″ from some of the seams…think boxy zigzag.)

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Grandma’s Quilt. Dad’s Pajamas.

My dad’s pajamas hang on the bottom of our bed.

It’s not as weird as it sounds.

My grandmother, my dad’s mom, died before I was born. I’ve seen photos and heard many stories about her, but the only connection I have to her is a quilt my grandfather gave to me a few years before he passed away.

By the way, those stories about grandma? The one told most often was about how she was such a kind woman. But one day, one of the chickens in their backyard flock pecked her one too many times, and that kind woman wrung his neck! You can guess what they had for dinner that night.

I’m fairly certain–judging by the fact that many of the fabrics are florals–that not all of the quilt squares were cut from my dad’s clothes, but I know for certain that at least one of the fabrics came from a pair of his childhood pajamas. If I recall correctly, his pajamas were made of red and white stripe fabric.

Though my dad is still living and I don’t need a tangible item to bring memories of him to mind, it’s nice to have this quilt nearby as a connection to the grandmother I never got to know and to the child my father once was. And I’m glad my grandfather trusted me with this heirloom and knew I would appreciate the effort put into each hand-stitched stitch.

I also appreciate all of the fabulous patterns on the old fabrics.

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A Confession

I have a confession to make.

This quilt was supposed to be a wedding present.

Many years ago a childhood friend got married. I was her Matron of Honor. She had been my Maid of Honor a few years earlier.

I chose the pattern “Treasured Hearts” from the book Hearts are Forever by Four Corners, picked out the fabrics, and got started. I worked diligently but, as I was an exhausted new mother, quickly realized I would never finish the quilt in time for the wedding.

Besides, I had fallen a bit in love with the quilt and really didn’t want to part with it. Horrible, I know. What kind of friend am I?

So a new gift was chosen for the wedding, and I put the quilt away to finish when I had more time.

I wouldn’t find that time for several more years, not until long after we’d built a house, moved, and had two more children. I can’t remember exactly what year that was (I should probably label my quilts), but I have a very clear memory of being cold and working on the quilting at the kitchen table while our across-the-pond neighbor at the time was in the basement fixing our broken furnace.

Ordinarily, I’m not a fan of white fabric. I find it tends to show every single wrinkle. But I liked the white on this quilt. I chose to quilt in the ditch around each colored piece of fabric. I used a soft, green flannel, that my parents purchased an entire bolt of at a very reasonable price in Ohio’s Amish Country, for the backing. The pattern made a twin/double size quilt measuring 73″ by 87.” For now, this quilt is draped over a chair in our living room. I thought that one day, should we ever turn our kids’ bedrooms into guest rooms, I might use it on a bed. After laying it out today to take photos, I realized how much it has aged just while draped on the back of a chair. The white is less white; the colors are a bit faded. It was a reminder that everything…and not just me…is aging.

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A Tiny Terror

Last weekend I wrote of the two tiny tyrants who share our house, or as our daughter calls them, the Guinea pigs. This week, let me introduce you to the other tiny terror in our lives:

Her name is Rosie. She’s 17 and spoiled absolutely rotten. (She would disagree on the spoiled rotten bit for two reasons. #1 – She has to live with 2 dogs and #2 – She occasionally has to wait to get her bedtime treat longer than she would like.)

Rosie, and her sister Belle (who died in early 2020), came to live with us when they were one day old. We then became a, gasp, four cat family at the time, having adopted two males from the shelter four years previously. (Sadly, the boys died several years ago.) Rosie and Belle had to be fed with bottles (even in the middle of the night), burped like babies, and taught how to do cat stuff (like use a litter box) by the humans in the family.

I was the only mama Rosie ever knew. And I didn’t shove her out of the “nest” as a normal mama cat would. Thus, a monster was created.

She’s clingy, insisting on sharing my chair when I sit down to sew. If she’s not on the chair behind me, forcing me to teeter on the very edge, she’s sitting on whatever project I’m attempting to work on. If I’m lucky she might lay in her bed nearby. Chances of that improve if I’ve got a space heater running nearby so she can toast her little whiskers.

At night she insists on sleeping as close to my face as possible, occasionally treating me to a neck stomping as she settles into position. As a person with allergies, let me just say that it’s a real treat having a cat sleep right under my nose every night. We tried evicting her from the bedroom, but her meowing skills are top notch. She can meow for hours at a time and often does so if her nightly treat is running late.

Her most recent transgression had nothing to do with neck stomping or lengthy bouts of meowing and put her firmly in top place on the naughty list for the week. Displeased with the state of 1 of her 4 (!!) litter boxes, she left me a stinky “present” right on top of the Lemon Pepper Quilt I was quilting.

I disposed of the “present” and spot cleaned the area, mentally cussing the entire time because I knew a spot clean would not suffice. There was no way I would put that quilt on the back of the couch or snuggle underneath it until it was washed.

I ordered some Shout color-catchers, knowing I did not want a repeat performance of what happened when I washed the bed quilt that took me 19 years to complete. (Blue backing that had been previously washed bled onto the front cream stars, which might not have been stopped even with a color-catcher.) As this quilt was a mix of whites and blacks and pale greens, I worried it could all be ruined with one washing.

After finishing the quilting (straight line meandering and a lot of it!) and binding AND taking photos just in case something bad happened, I said a prayer and tossed it in the wash. Thankfully, it came out looking perfect.

So, here it is, the Lemon Pepper Quilt that was on my UFO (unfinished objects) list and the third project knocked off the list this year:

Luna is carefully checking out those quilting stitches. No word yet on if she approves.

*Update on the Guinea pig hay bags from last week: Apparently I made the holes in the hay bags slightly too large. The boys are able to yank the hay out a bit too easily, thus creating mounds of hay on the floor of their enclosure which they might or might not eat. They will, for sure, act as if they have nothing to eat when the hay bags are empty despite these mounds of perfectly good hay.

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Pieceful Waters Quilt

Last year I created a list of my unfinished projects. Some call them UFOs (Unfinished Objects) or WIPs (Works in Progress). I came up with nine projects that were in various states of completion–7 quilts, 1 knitting project, and 1 cross-stitch project. The goal for this year is to knock at least three of those projects off my list. I will, no doubt, end up starting several new projects thus causing my list to grow rather than shrink! But at least I’m trying to keep the pile of projects to a minimum.

The first project I completed off my list was the Pieceful Waters quilt which featured Crossed Canoe blocks. I absolutely love how this quilt turned out. I love the colors and the design. I especially love that I was able to use some carefully hoarded Wizard of Oz fabric scraps left from a quilt I made one of our daughters when she was a toddler. (That quilt was in last week’s post.)

This quilt pattern was from the October 2014 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine. I believe I started working on the quilt in 2020. Because it involved paper-piecing which I’m not a huge fan of (I don’t like tearing all the paper off.), I worked on it rather sporadically over the past 2 years.

I made a couple changes to the pattern. As I’m not a fan of huge borders, I did not add the outer 5″ border that was in the original pattern. I also made 16 blocks instead of the 20 in the pattern. (That was mainly because I was running low on green and pink fabric and didn’t want to purchase anything new for the project.) I did very simple quilting, choosing to quilt approximately 1/8″ from the edge of the pieces. I used green thread on the pink fabric and pink thread on the green fabric.

Once Hubby makes a compression hanger, this quilt will hang in our bedroom. I can’t wait to see it on the wall!

My next project won’t be one from the Unfinished Project list. Our middle daughter’s guinea pigs need new hay bags. It’s not an exciting project, but I’ll try to choose a fun fabric.

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“Friends” Quilt

Hubby, our middle daughter, and I enjoyed a trip to Texas during the last two weeks of December. We visited Enchanted Rock State Park, Big Bend National Park, Guadalupe National Park, and El Paso. We hiked miles and miles every day, summited Guadalupe Peak, and enjoyed a visit with my brother and his family.

Guadalupe Peak Summit

It was a great trip.

Then we got home.

Where one after another we succumbed to what we think was the Big C. The Great Contagion. The thing for which we were all vaxxed to the max. I wouldn’t say it was horrible, but it definitely wasn’t a good time. Now, a solid month and a couple days from the first symptom, I think I’ve finally fully recovered. (Tests were very difficult to find, so we simply stayed home.)

For most of January, I didn’t feel like doing much. I read. I slept. I watched television. I cooked “interesting” meals from what we had on hand in the freezer since we were pretty much stuck at home for three weeks straight. (We might not have still been contagious after a week or so, but no one wants to be the person having an uncontrollable coughing fit in the middle of the grocery store right now! It was just easier to stay home. And, as an added benefit, we were forced to use up some older food in the freezer.)

This past week I finally felt like doing some sewing. I picked up where I left off prior to vacation on the quilting of my Crossed Canoes quilt. I had hoped to have the quilt finished by this weekend, but didn’t quite make it. I also spent an evening working on some knitted socks.

Since I have nothing new to share, I thought I’d pull a couple older quilts out of the cedar chest to share. Please excuse the wrinkles. They were well-used and have also been stored for some time.

These quilts were made from the “Friends” pattern found in Quick Rotary Cutter Quilts by Pam Bono Designs.

Quick they were not!

Each large doll block was constructed of 45 different pieces, and that didn’t include the buttons and frills and hair! (It was fun choosing the ribbons, lace, and buttons to dress up each doll.) This quilt pattern could be a great use for scraps.

I made these twin-size quilts, one in blue and pink for our oldest daughter and one in green and pink for our younger daughter, when they were around 4 and 2. They are both in their 20s now.

As I look back now as a mostly empty nester who doesn’t seem to complete projects quite as quickly as I used to, I am amazed at how much sewing I got done when the kids were younger. At the time I made these quilts, I was pregnant with their younger brother and had two very active toddlers running around the house.

(The book also contains a pattern for a doll that matches the quilts.)

crafts · Quilting · Quilts · sewing

Dolphins in the Bathroom

Shortly after we moved into our house I decorated the kids’ bathroom with an underwater theme. I painted the walls light blue, then sponged a darker blue on top.

(Sponging paint on or off was quite the rage there for a while in the early 2000s. I must have sponged, ragged, and even plastic-wrapped paint on over half the walls in the house. Looking back, while I liked it at the time, it was a pretty weird fad. The plastic-wrap technique involved painting the walls with a base color, then adding a darker color. While the darker paint was still wet, you put a layer of plastic wrap on top then pulled it off. This removed part of the dark paint, leaving behind interesting lines in the remaining paint.)

Anyway, I digress.

Where were we?

Ah, yes. Underwater bathroom.

After painting, I added an undersea-themed wallpaper border up near the ceiling. (Borders were “in” at the time also. Had I known how difficult this one would be to remove years later, I never would have put it up there.) We then hung a fishing net and blue tulle from corner to corner over the bathtub and put a couple starfish inside. That, I think, did look pretty neat.

As a final touch, I added this small dolphin wall hanging:

The dolphin block, a paper-piecing pattern, was from A Quilter’s Ark by Margaret Rolfe. Each dolphin block finishes at just 4″ x 4.” This little wall hanging was just the right size to fit between two medicine cabinets.

Several years after painting the bathroom, we decided to give it a bit of a freshening up. The netting and tulle were dusty, the kids had outgrown the underwater theme, and I just like to have painting projects. We didn’t put a lot of thought into the paint color, instead choosing to be frugal by using leftover paint from when I painted our oldest daughter’s room. She’d chosen a pale blue for her walls and a strange pinkish-purple for a tiny angled wall where her bedroom door is located. We had nearly a gallon of that strange pinkish-purple color left, and so that’s what ended up in the bathroom.

I hated that color.

And the dolphin wall hanging didn’t quite match the room anymore. But we left it there anyway.

We tolerated the paint color for several years until it came time to paint our son’s bedroom. He chose a lovely grey paint for his walls, and, since there was leftover paint, I was able to redo the bathroom. Now, the dolphins once again look like they belong.