Monday, May 30, 2011

The Last Full Measure of Devotion

I have much to be thankful for on this Memorial Day.

My father is a Korea War veteran. I have a 5th great grandfather (my mother's ancestry) who was at the Battle of Bunker Hill which took place early in the Revolutionary War and a 5th great grandfather (my father's ancestry) who fought in the southern theater of the Revolutionary War.

And I have two nephews and a nephew-in-law who are part of the US Military, not to mention several uncles and cousins who served.

Thank you!

If you haven't seen this tremendous performance, it's worth a look!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Quilt in a Day -- Almost!

On Thursday a good friend and I did our own "shop hop" to visit the many quilt shops from the south end of the Salt Lake Valley down to Springville, UT (about an hour south). We started at a darling shop called "Corn Wagon Quilts". It was a shop featured in Quilt Sampler about 6 or 7 years ago.

We then hit a couple shops in Orem, Utah -- including one I had heard about but never been to: American Quilting. They had some great quilt samples around the shop, with many from Edyta Sitar's book "Friendship Strips and Scraps". (Yes, I ended up buying the book because the shop's samples were so inspiring.)

We went to an old country store in Lehi, UT that also has a fabric store. I didn't buy much there, but my shop-hopping friend bought all of the fabrics she needed to make Bunny Hill Design's fabulous Yoyoville quilt.

After a stop for lunch at Thanksgiving Point, we went to four more shops in Salt Lake City. I had shown my friend the flannel log cabin I am making for my mom, and she decided that she also wanted to make that quilt. So we ended the day at Quilts, Etc. so she could buy the Woolies Flannel fabrics.

I had decided to buy fabrics for a quilt to "commemorate" our do-it-yourself shop hop. I bought coordinating fabrics at each of the shops we visited to assemble into a quilt that would become a memory of the great day we had.

I knew that I wanted to buy fabrics a bit outside my comfort zone. (I'm definitely a "Jo Morton -- Kansas Troubles -- Civil War reproductions" fabrics kind of gal.) I had originally thought I'd buy some Amy Butler fabrics, but I'm not quite there yet. I love her fabrics, but I haven't figured out how to make them work together in a quilt. Some day I will! Anyway, these are the fabrics I bought during our shop-hop adventure (plus the bolt of white that I have in my stash):

And after a busy day sewing yesterday (and about 90 minutes this morning to add the borders), here's my finished shop-hop quilt top:

The design is called "Round the Twist", by Alex Anderson. It appeared in the June 2003 American Patchwork & Quilting magazine. (Yes, I keep my old magazines for quilt inspiration!) This morning as I was adding the borders, I was kind of wishing I had used black rather than white as the centers of the blocks. But I do like the way it turned out. I will probably end up giving it away at some point in the future because although I love it, it doesn't fit with my style of decorating at all!

The quilt would be a great beginner project because it is just snowball blocks and the square "twist" block.

The only tricky part was laying out the blocks, because there isn't a method for setting them. You basically have to play with the blocks in order to create the interlocking color rings.

I have finished sewing all of the blocks for my mom's flannel log cabin. I'll start sewing them into rows today.  She thinks it still needs to be bigger, and wants me to add a border. The thing is, I don't think I've every seen borders on log cabin quilts. I'll have to do some investigating.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend and take advantage of every opportunity to honor those who have died in the service of our nation's freedom!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Go! Baby and the Flannel Log Cabin and Stars Quilt

In January, my mom and I stopped at one of the quilt shops in SLC. She found a kit for a quilt that she really liked – a flannel log cabin with secondary star pattern where the blocks meet. I finally began working on it for her over the weekend.

It turns out the kit uses the same flannel fabrics that were in the flannel lap quilt that I finished for her a couple months ago.Not only that, my mom had forgotten that she had purchased the kit – so when I told her I was finally working on her quilt, she couldn’t remember what the quilt even looked like.

Since the “logs” in the quilt are 2-1/2 inches wide, I decided to try out my new Accuquilt Go! Baby fabric cutter.

The fabrics were each 10-1/2 inches by width of fabric. So I began by trimming the selvages and pressing the fabrics and then folding to be 5-1/4 X 21 inches.

This fit perfectly on the 2-1/2 inch strip die.

In less than 30 minutes I had 8 perfect 2-1/2 inch strips of 20 fabrics.

And with no more fabric waste than if I had cut the strips with a rotary cutter.

For the block centers and star points, I used my June Tailor “ruler” to quickly subcut 2-1/2 inch squares.

Then I used traditional ruler and rotary cutting to cut the logs to the various lengths.

Here are the first 12 of 20 14-inch blocks in the quilt. The next 8 blocks are sewn except for the last round of logs. Because of the star points, it takes as long to do the last 4 logs on a block as it does to do the first 8 logs. But I’ll probably finish those sometime today.

My mom came over to look at the progress (and to remember what she had purchased). Unfortunately she didn’t pay attention to the size of quilt kit she had purchased – and she really wanted a quilt for her king-size bed. Oops. So, she’s calling the quilt shop today to find out if they have another kit. If so, I’ll be adding another 22 blocks to the quilt to increase it from 56X70 to 84X98.

Have a creative week!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Progress on Gathering Baskets Quilt

This is turning out to be a big quilt -- bigger than I thought. But I'm really liking it!

Without the last 3 borders (top, bottom and left), it is about 72 inches square right now. It will end up about 80 X 86 when I get the rest of the borders on. 

I would love to replace the quilt that hangs over my stairwell with this one once it's quilted, but if I add the other borders, it will be about 8 inches too wide for the quilt hanger. This photo shows what is there now.

So the big question is -- do you think I can get by without the borders?

Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Eighth Quilt Finish for 2011

A quick post today to show my latest quilting adventures -- one finish and significant progress on another.

I'm so glad to have this quilt finished -- since this one's for me!  I knew I had to make it when I saw the pattern name ("Nancy's Nine Patch").

But it was the colors, use of black (which I love in quilts) and the simple, yet gorgeous borders that won me over.  And not only do I love 9-patch blocks, I love to sew square-in-square blocks -- and this design was the best of both worlds.

And here's what I've been working on over the past week. I received the pattern and fabrics as a block of the month last year -- but had only worked on one block.

I've now finished the main blocks -- but now need to do the borders and applique. Here's a link to the original design from Primitive Pieces by Lynda.

It continues to rain in Utah -- and I thought I lived in the desert!  I hope everyone has a great day. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cowboy Christmas

Cowboy Christmas is how ranchers often refer to branding day. Not only does it represent the end of a long, hard winter -- but a time to brand, inoculate and (in the case of bull calves), castrate. Often neighboring ranchers get together to help each other take care of these tasks -- but my brother recruits family and friends to pitch in. He only had about 50 calves to take care of (plus give their mommas a shot), so they were able to get it all done in a few hours. My brother wrote -- and at lunch recited -- his first original cowboy poem all about "Cowboy Christmas". I'm hoping to get a copy of it because it summarizes so well what goes on during this annual event.

The day started with a round-up. But, it wasn't a round-up on horseback as in years past. Instead, he loaded a tractor with a bail of hay and the cows and calves followed him down from an upper pasture to the corral area. There were a few people on 4-wheelers to help bring up the rear. My brother referred to this as a "Japanese round-up", I guess because the 4-wheelers were made in Japan.

Next up was to separate the mommas from their babies. And, believe me, they were bellering for each other -- even though they were only a few yards apart. When reunited, the cows start sniffing each calf until she finds her offspring. Then everyone is happy again.

Mid-morning it was time to get the sheep sheared -- about 5 ewes and 3 rams. Two brothers made quick work of it.

Lunch was a "milk can dinner". At the bottom of the milk can was a layer of red potatoes. Then there were layers of carrots, onions, kielbasa sausage, ham, and cabbage. After adding 4 cups of water, the milk can was sealed up and cooked for about 90 minutes on a camp stove. Here were the yummy results.

During the day I baked bread in my solar oven.  It was doing great -- but then clouds set in and the temperature dropped to 150 degrees in the solar oven. I ended up finishing the bread in the oven in my cabin. Oh well, next time.

After lunch I planted our garden, with some welcome help from my mom. Since the ranch is at a higher elevation than Salt Lake City, and because I'm only at the ranch every few weeks, I decided that this year we would only plant veggies that don't  have to be picked immediately and that do well into the cooler months of September and October.

The furthest grow box has all cabbage, except for one spaghetti squash. In the center box we did two varieties of carrots and two varieties of beets. After they start coming up, I'll go back and fill in with more carrots and beets in order to stagger the crop. And the last box is all winter squash. We've grown beans, peppers, and tomatoes in the past, but the growing season at the ranch isn't long enough for tomatoes, and beans and peppers need to be picked regularly so the plants continue to produce. I'll leave those things for my backyard garden.

There was a new litter of piglets. Luckily they are weaned from their momma sow because the momma has been ailing. These wiener pigs grow so fast it's shocking. But I love saving my veggie scraps and bring them to feed the pigs. They love these little extras to their grain.

Lastly, I presented baby Tysen with his quilt. Hopefully it will match his denim and cowboy themed nursery at Ft. Stewart, GA.

I hope you all have a great week!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Antietam Quilt Top Finished

I don’t know why I waited so long to finish this quilt top, but I’m so glad I didn’t wait any longer. It was surprisingly quick to finish. Of course I already had sewn all of the half-square triangles back in November 2009 before I got my new sewing machine. So it was only appropriate that I finish it with my 10-year-old Pfaff machine while the Baby Lock Espire is being serviced.

I love the fabrics – “Traditions”, Collections for a Cause by Howard Marcus for Moda. It was a block of the month, and since I didn’t make the quilt as big as planned, I have plenty of leftover fabric.

I think I will use the extra fabric to make this Lori Smith pattern that I’ve wanted to do for a while. Since there were leftover half-square triangles from Antietam, I already have enough to make about 15 of the 77 pinwheel blocks (after trimming them to size). This will most likely not be a quick quilt to make – but it will be a good project to work on as a “leader and ender” project while working on other quilts.

I’m heading to my cabin at my brother’s ranch tomorrow. It is cattle branding and sheep shearing on Saturday. Plus, time to plant the vegetable garden.

I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Two Retirement Quilt Tops Ready to Quilt

My long-time boss (for 21 years) retired in January.  I had always intended to make a quilt for his retirement gift, but he retired without any notice and I didn't have his quilt done. I had decided on which quilt to make for him more than a year ago, so I had everything ready to go.

Since he was born and raised in Philadelphia, I decided this quilt with reproduction fabrics by Nancy Gere for Windham Fabrics would be perfect. The quilt's center panel commemorates the centennial of the US in 1876 which included a huge exposition in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park that highlighted the industrial revolution. I didn't realize how big the quilt would turn out until I started working on it (the half-square triangles finish 4 inches). I ended up leaving off the last border to keep it a bit smaller than the original. When my machine quilter calls to let me know that the current quilt is done, I'll drop this one off.

I also have a quilt ready for the retirement (sometime in the next year) of the other founder of the company I worked for. (This company was sold to a huge software company about 2-1/2 years ago). Although he was only my boss for a few months, I have known him and worked very closely with him for more than 21 years. He attended his first year of college in Gettysburg PA, which is also where he met his wife. This quilt features Abraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address, so it seems an appropriate retirement quilt for him when he retires. I know his wife as well, and am confident that she will like this quilt.

I didn't originally intend to do Americana quilts for both of them, but that's how it turned out. But they are still fairly different from each other that it will be fine.

In keeping with this historical quilt theme, I pulled out one of my UFOs and began working on it again -- thus turning it into a WIP. This quilt is called "Antietam", to commemorate the tragic loss of life at the Civil War battle of Antietam Creek, Maryland in 1862. First the original quilt:

It looked like it would be fairly straightforward to make -- but when I got into making the quilt, it wasn't as simple as I'd hoped. Here is one of the blocks:

Then blocks are sewn together in a zig-zag pattern:

Then the "peaks" of the squares are trimmed to create a row. First row done, about a dozen more to go.

I had to take my Baby Lock sewing machine in to be serviced this morning. The automatic thread cutter wasn't cutting the bobbin thread -- only the top thread, and the tension was all goofed up. Nothing I did would fix the tension on the bottom. So, for the next several days I'm back working on my Pfaff machine. It's funny how quickly I got accustomed to the snazzy convenience features on the Baby Lock -- things like the pressure foot automatically going up when the stitching stops. But since I started the Antietam quilt using my Pfaff, it's probably good that I finish it with the Pfaff. I had sewn all of the half-square triangles, so now just have to assemble the blocks and rows, and then sew the rows together. My goal is to finish it up before I pick up my other machine from being serviced.

I hope you all have a great week of quilting, stitching, or whatever fulfills you!


Related Posts with Thumbnails