Friday, January 22, 2016

Status Report

There's so much to catch up on here in The Magpie's Nest that I hardly know where to begin. My head is not fully in the game at the moment either. Let's see... how about a list?

  1. I finished the binding on the second twin's quilt. Need to get that photographed.
  2. I'm more than halfway around the binding on a Parts Department quilt, then that will also need to be photographed.
  3. I'm making more of the 12" Ohio Stars I made for last year's Rainbow Scrap Challenge to fill out a second Parts Department quilt. 
  4. As the blocks are coming in for Miss May's Foot Square Freestyle (F2F) quilt I'm sewing them together. 
  5. My sweet, charming father-in-law passed away. It's a good thing really, we just have to adjust to the new normal and sort out funeral arrangements.

The one item I can elaborate on a little bit right now is the F2F quilt. When we began our swap Miss May knew she might not see her blocks or be able to assemble them into a quilt. We didn't know it at the time but she is in the late stages of ovarian cancer. A drug trial did not have the desired benefits for her. The rest of the swappers have now taken it upon themselves to make their blocks for her immediately instead of waiting until her scheduled turn in May. They are being sent to me and I am sewing them together according to the plan Kate and Avis devised digitally. They also created a virtual quilt for Miss May so she can see what her quilt will look like.



I have about half the blocks here in The Nest. I put them on my design wall this morning to show you the progress so far.


Once again the quilt will be larger than my design wall so what you see above is not entirely true to the design plan. Almost a whole column has been left out. Nevertheless, you can see that it's coming along nicely. I'm expecting blocks from Germany, France, the UK, and Australia any day now.

When this top has been assembled my son will do the quilting. Our hope is that we'll be able to get this done and shipped to Miss May before it's too late. Whether she has time to enjoy it or not, it will eventually be donated to the M.D. Anderson Ovarian Quilt Project to be auctioned off to raise monies for research into the screening for and treatment of ovarian cancer.

Speaking of the Foot Square Freestyle swap, I haven't been very good about posting the blocks I've been making for each month's participants. You can see all the blocks that have been made over the last seven months by all the participants by clicking on the highlighted phrase above and scrolling down.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Two Finishes!

The baby shower I learned about in mid-December is being held this weekend. I won't be able to be there, but it was my goal to have the baby quilt I've been working on ready to be presented at the shower. Goal achieved!


It's about 48" square, bound in blue since, according to reports, the expected infant is a boy. I didn't think to get pictures before I laundered it. The quilting was done with white thread so it was hard to see even before shrinkage happened. The quilt turned out fantastically crinkly and cushy though. (There's flannel on the back.)

The other finish also had a close deadline, the first of February (just to be on the safe side). I amazed myself yesterday by pruning the quilted sandwich, making binding, applying the binding by machine, and then hand stitching the binding down all the way around the twin size quilt. All in one day! With no apparent ill effect to my hands or shoulders - yet.


This is the first of the quilts for our twin granddaughters. Most of the blocks were made as a result of my participation in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2015.


The second one is on the long-arm now. I'm a lot less concerned about getting the pair done in time for their birthday with one under my belt already. :- )

I chose a multi color print for the binding. It would have been nice if there had been enough for both quilts but that was not to be. However, it was gratifying to have a perfect place to use this print that had been in my stash for 20 years or more.



The quilting shows up really well on parts of the back:


Although it may not be as obvious once the quilt has been laundered. I used a Cicely Mary Baker panel and border print for the bulk of the back of both quilts. This one happens to be in pinks, the other is more blue and purple.


All in all I couldn't be more happy with the way these two quilts have turned out. I only hope the finishing of the second twin's quilt will go as smoothly as there's another project in the pipeline I'll want to be able to give my full attention to when all the parts are in hand.


Saturday, January 9, 2016

New Stars, New Project

I had fun this week pulling out tiny blue scraps and strips to make 8" postage stamp stars for my 2016 Rainbow Scrap Challenge. The first star of the year:


I've also been working on a baby quilt. I didn't learn about the blessed event until mid-December and the baby shower is next weekend. (I believe the baby is actually due early in February.) In the Parts Department I found a handful of 12" blocks that had been made out of appropriate prints. There were only two 6" blocks that would work. That was enough to get the ball rolling at least. I made a couple more 12" blocks out of prints that played well with the existing blocks and then cut patches for more 6" blocks. I had to go shopping (horrors!) to find something to use in the alternate spaces. A new paintbox print in my local quilt shop was the closest match to the colors and scale of the other background prints.



The top was completed this week. Found some flannel in the closet to use for the back and James is quilting it with swirls and butterflies in the alternate blocks. (There are butterflies in the backgrounds of two of the 12" blocks.)


While he's doing that I've made a few more blue stars. The 6" Hole in the Barn Door blocks were assembled as leaders and enders over the course of the last week or so.



There's going to be a ton of binding in my future. After the baby quilt is bound and gone I'll have the twin's quilts to bind. No doubt I'll be taking breaks to make more stars!

I'm linking up with the other RSC bloggers over at SoScrappy today. :- )

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Starting a New Year

I dropped out of the cyber sphere for most of December, not always by choice. Now it's a matter of overcoming inertia as much as anything else.

Today I came across this quote from Mark Twain which feels very appropriate:
"Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.
Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual." 
I don't generally do New Year's resolutions. Gentle goal setting has become useful however. To that end I am planning to participate in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge again. Not sure that I will make the column quilt Angela has designed. Instead I think I'll make postage stamp stars in the color of the month. I also want to use the practice of monthly blocks to make stars for another Christmas quilt. I've made two so far, just finishing up the second one this season. Of course I don't have a picture of the finished quilt. Getting good pictures is one hurdle in my blogging journey.

I'm doing very well with my version of Quilty 365. You may remember that I'm cutting a 2.5" x 6.5" strip each day instead of appliqueing a circle. This is what I have so far:


The column on the left is comprised of 28 strips. The right one will have 29. The third one will have 28 again, then 29, and so on. I figure 13 columns will get me through the year and make for a nice size personal quilt. There have been a couple of days when it was a challenge to choose an appropriate print but nothing has truly stumped me so far. (whew!)

The quilt tops and backs for our twin granddaughters are ready for quilting. No, I don't have pictures. Not of the quilt parts anyway. I do have this one from Christmas Eve!



The Ohio Stars quilt I made from some of 2015's RSC blocks was quilted, bound, and sent off to a cancer patient in December. It's so handy having a long-arm quilter in the house!


The feathers you see in the photo above are on the back of a quilt for a child in foster care. Two quilts were rolled together when that picture was taken. Below you can maybe see the simple meander we decided on for the Ohio Star quilt.


All of James' quilting is done freehand, which allows him a lot of creative license when it comes to the quilting designs. If you look closely you might be able to see a couple of different patterns in the block below:


Hopefully I'll be able to share examples of his work frequently in the months ahead. :- )


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Baby Steps

It's been a tough week.


Several toxic exposures and subsequent recoveries slowed down productivity in The Magpie's Nest. Eventually I was able to begin auditioning the little blocks I'd been making for the borders on the twin's rainbow quilts. The first hurdle was to figure out how to lay out both tops with room for the border blocks above and below. I couldn't find a place to lay out both tops simultaneously so I used my bed and the design wall, in two different rooms (but only steps away from each other).



My goal was to distribute the images in the stars and the colors in the blocks as evenly as possible between the two tops. Of course I ended up with a couple of spots where nothing I had would work and new blocks had to be made.


Then there was the matter of doing the math to make the blocks fit the width of the flimsies. Hard to do with a broken brain, let me tell you! In the end the sashes are three quarters of an inch wide and the border strips are framed with half an inch where it will be seamed to the lower edge of the flimsy and one inch on what will be the outside edge. Once the borders have been put on the bodies of the quilt tops I plan to run a 1.5" border strip down each side so all the blocks will appear to be floating on the white ground. I don't yet know just what the binding will be made of but I do know it will be a dark color to frame the quilt tops.

When I finished building the borders I gave myself the reward of using scraps to make a couple of sawtooth stars. I went ahead and sewed up a couple of little Hole in the Barn Door blocks too.

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You can see at the extreme right side of my design wall that the Diary Quilt has been growing steadily. There have been a couple of days when it was a challenge to find an appropriate print for the day. So far though, I've come up with something before the next day gets very old.

I'm linking up with SoScrappy for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I'm pretty sure I'll be making sawtooth stars next year whether or not I follow along with Angela's quilt plan. :- )