Thursday, May 25, 2017

Clean Sweep

Clean Sweep
Quilt of Valor
56 x 70 inches
Clean Sweep started with one of the silent auction, eagle napkins. The stars surrounding the eagle were remnants of Liberty, a previous Quilt of Valor. The three patch units in the next segment were leftover from Stars and Stripes and Firecrackers. The corner blocks and the blocks in the final border were leftover from Plan B.

The reason this quilt was named Clean Sweep: it emptied the orphan Quilt of Valor elements bin.

Clean Sweep is QOV #116

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Hanging a Shingle

bare wood ready to paint
May 2017
Last week, I hung a shingle to proclaim that I love quilts and quilting.

I love barn quilts - the huge, wooden quilt blocks that decorate many barns in the midwest. They are so popular in some communities that the Chambers of Commerce prepare maps for driving tours. It has been my dream for some time to prepare a mini barn quilt to hang on my house.

Sabid, my niece's husband, prepared the bare wood forms, and I brought them home to paint. It is my goal to prepare a barn quilt for each season. Since summer will soon be here, I started by preparing a patriotic block - the Yankee Puzzle.

The paint contains primer, so I decided to jump right in with the design. I used painter's tape to mark the design and began painting. The color bled into the other areas, so I will not use the tape on the next one.

painting supplies and progress
The block looks best from a distance. Up close, my unsteady hand and wavy lines are clearly visible.

a quilter lives here!
The Yankee Puzzle block clearly identifies that a quilter lives on my street. I'm considering a Maple Leaf pattern for the autumn block, a Bear Paw for winter, and possibly a Tulip or Flower Basket for spring.

Do you have a yard decoration that identifies one or more of your hobbies?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Spotted in Casper

all-in-one sink
Maverick convenience store
Mills, WY
May 2017
This all-in-one sink was spotted in a new Maverick convenience store on a recent trip to Casper. The dispenser on the left provides soap, the center is water, and on the right is a hand dryer. The hand dryer quickly dried my hand with super turbo air - no more piles of paper towels in the waste bin or a useless wall-mounted hand dryer.

The restroom had two of these sinks for the patrons - very nice and super clean, too. Have you seen these all-in-one sinks in your community?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Dailey Park Cowl #2

cowl knit with reclaimed wool and dyed with food coloring
May 2017
I couldn't resist knitting something from the reclaimed wool that I dyed with food coloring. I had enough yarn in one skein for a Dailey Park Cowl. The yarn was the thick/thin variety and ranged from a sport-weight to a light-bulky weight.

The pattern suggested a special technique called a Suspended Bind-off. The technique was new to me, and I was surprised that it provided a looser and slightly more stretchy edge than the traditional bind off.

Have you tried the suspended bind-off?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Week's End

food and drink to close the week
I had annual medical appointments two days in Casper last week, and after a long day of waiting, being prodded, and some shopping, I decided to treat myself to a margarita and a good meal. I seldom take photos of my meals, and I rarely imbibe in alcohol, but Thursday night was the exception.

A toddler from the table behind me giggled, and I turned to smile. Just as I turned, the little girl threw me the biggest kiss. I caught it, and threw one back to her. Our brief exchange made some of the tension from my day diminish.

I snapped the photo shown above and sent a text to Marilyn and Brenda and asked about their day. Brenda called, and we chatted as I ate.

When I was finished my meal, the waitress said the party at a nearby table had paid for my meal and drink. Again, more of the day's tension slipped away.

Thanks to the kindness of strangers, I walked back to the motel with a spring in my step and a lighter heart.

Have you "paid it forward" lately?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

"Plan B"

"Plan B"
60 x 75 inches
Quilt of Valor
You might remember that I made a set of simple blocks for a Quilt of Valor. "Plan A" was to use the eagle napkins, purchased in a silent auction, and the simple blocks to create a Quilt of Valor with the Purple Daze pattern.
Plan A didn't make the cut
When the units were placed on my design floor, both Marilyn and I thought it was too busy, so I used "Plan B." I like the clean design of the pattern (Fall in the City) and will use it again.

Pattern used for "Plan B" - Fall in the City by Connecting Threads

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Kathyb's Tip

my neighbor's blooming crabapple tree
viewed from my dec
May 2017
Spring is starting to show itself in the area: trees are blooming, grass is green, and flowers are starting to show some color. With all of that growth come critters who can become a nuisance. Enter the annual wasp invasion.

Every year, I have wasp nests under my deck roof, and every year, I attack them with spray and destroy their nests. However, this year I decided to try a tip that Kathyb shared on her blog.

lunch bag inflated and hung on the deck

As I was uncovering the patio furniture, I saw that the wasps had returned and were industriously constructing their nests. They payed no heed to the single bag, but when the second bag was hung, they flew away. I haven't seen them since.

two inflated lunch bags suspended on the deck
May 2017
I hope the bags continue to do the trick, as I dislike using a pesticide.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Wool Roving Chair Pads

Latch Hook Wool Roving Chair Pad class
Fiber Guild Spring Retreat
May 2017
(click collage to enlarge)
The afternoon class at the annual Fiber Guild Spring Retreat was a wool roving chair pad. The woman who taught the class has made numerous pads and brought them to Guild meetings for show and tell. We finally convinced her to teach a class.

The base of the pad is latch-hook canvas, and the pad is constructed with a crochet hook and wool roving. Working the roving and the crochet hook through the doubled edge was tricky and somewhat difficult. After the edge was covered with roving, the process went much faster for everyone.

I got about three rows finished on my pad. More to come as it progresses, but it may be awhile so don't hold your breath.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Dyeing with Kool-Aid

Annual Fiber Guild Spring Retreat
dyeing wool with Kool-Aid and food coloring
May 2017
(click collage to enlarge images)
I had a great time at the Guild's annual spring retreat earlier this month. The morning class was dyeing wool yarn with Kool-Aid and food coloring. The Guild purchased all the supplies and paid the instructors, but the class was free. I had a great time.

The class gave me the confidence that I needed to jump in and try the process. I've been wanting to do this for ages. I had some off-white wool that I reclaimed years ago and took two skeins to the class.

skeins of wool that I dyed in the class
Top - the skein provided - 100% wool
Middle and bottom skeins are reclaimed wool
 85% wool and 15% mohair

The instructors had seven large crock pots available for steaming or stewing the yarn. I chose to use the same technique for all three skeins - hand-painting. Others in the class dyed in a bowl in the crockpots as well as using Mason jars for saturated color.

The next day, I decided to dye more skeins in two different immersion dye pots.

blue and green Wilton icing pastes
purple, blue, and red Wilton icing pastes
purple dye pot skeins in the middle
blue dye pot skeins on the end. 

No bleeding during the final rinse, so the color should be colorfast.

reclaimed and dyed yarn
75% wool and 25% nylon
reclaimed and dyed yarn
75% wool and 25% nylon

I'm thrilled with the results - the class yarns and the ones I dyed at home. I will definitely dye more wool in the future.  This class and others in previous years are the main reason I belong to the Fiber Guild: so many talented individuals that are willing to teach, and even more who want to learn new skills.

The turquoise color is my favorite, and I've already cast on a project to see how it looks knit.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Vintage Quilt - Denim Cathedral Window

Mom's denim cathedral window quilt
circa 1970s
One fabric that was plentiful on the farm was denim. Mom kept old jeans and used them to patch ripped and worn jeans or coveralls, but some of the denim was used to make durable quilts. For the cathedral window quilt, Mom cut circles of various colors of denim and then placed a square of fabric in the center. She folded the denim circle toward the fabric squares and machine zig-zagged the curved edges. The blocks were then attached to each other.

I wish these old photos were a better quality, but they, too, are vintage.

large (and heavy) denim cathedral window quilt

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Sneak Peek

Marilyn's project
April 2017
Here's a sneak peek at Marilyn's current project. Aren't the vibrant hand-dyed fabrics gorgeous!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Presentation Cases

thirteen pillowcases
April 2017
These thirteen cases were made from backing remnants and coordinating fabrics. They will be paired with a Quilt of Valor for a presentation and storage case.

five pillowcases
April 2017
Some brighter fabric was used for pillowcases for the local hospice home.

The cases account for nearly 18 yards of fabric out of the stash.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Stretched Stars

stretched stars
April 2017
Stretched Stars began with squares from the 5 inch scrap bin. I added triangles to diagonal corners to create the blocks for this quilt.

The finished blocks went to Denver with me, and at Marilyn's house, I sewed the blocks into rows and added the first border (frame). The final border was added when I got home.

Stretched Stars
Quilt of Valor
62 x 66 inches
Stretched Stars is QOV #114

Monday, May 8, 2017

Stars of Valor

Stars of Valor
Quilt of Valor
63 x 74 inches
Stars of Valor was finished at the Sister's Sewing Retreat at Marilyn's house in April. I used scraps from other Quilts of Valor but didn't count correctly and had to beg some fabric for the centers of the small stars from Marilyn.

Stars of Valor is #113 in the Quilt of Valor tally.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Vintage Quilt - Strings

Mom's String Blocks
circa 1940 - 50
I remember Mom working on these string blocks when I was probably 6 or 7 years old, maybe younger. Mom sewed the fabric strings on newspaper blocks, and to keep me out of her hair occupied, my job was to tear the paper off of the finished blocks.

After Mom died in 1989, her projects (many unfinished) were divided between my two brothers, two sisters, and me. The string quilt top became Marilyn's: she had it machine quilted and proudly displays it in her home.  

Mom's string quilt tells a story of using what's available to make something useful and attractive.

Mom's String Quilt
April 2017
It's fair to say that my sisters and I came to love quilting through our mom's example.

Did your Mom teach you how to do one of your hobbies?

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Two Step QAL - April Clue

April clue
Two-Step Mystery
Two components were created in the Two-Step April clue. The one on the right with the hour-glass blocks resembles a holiday cracker.

This mystery will probably have one or two more clues. I'm eager to see the quilt blocks these units will create.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Dailey Park Cowl

Dailey Park cowl detail
April 2017
I ordered the kit for the Dailey Park cowl from Craftsy. I started and finished it while in Denver: it's a quick and easy knit. The Cloudborn yarn was a delight to knit - soft and springy.

Pattern: Dailey Park Cowl by Sunne Meyer (Craftsy link)

Needles: US size 7

Yarn:  Cloudborn 100% Superwash Merino Worsted (Ocean)
           220 yards/ 100g

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

In the Making - Tavern Blues Blocks

Non-quilters often ask about how a quilt block is made, so I decided to show the process involved in making one blocks for the Tavern Blues quilt. 
first all the pieces are cut to size and selected for the individual blocks
I like to place the pieces on a 16" square of poster board. The
boards can easily be stacked on top of each other and placed on
the sewing machine cabinet for quick access.
all of the pieces that remain intact are kept on the poster board.
pieces that require sewing are stacked near the machine
squares are selected for each component and positioned
for sewing
sewing lines were previously drawn on the squares for
accurate sewing.
I stitch all the units (one after the other, which is called "chain-stitching")
the chain-stitched units are snipped apart
excess fabric is trimmed a quarter inch from the stitching line. 
the fabric has been pressed
the next pieces are placed on the units and prepared
for stitching.
once more, the units are chain-stitched
seam allowance is trimmed on the newly added pieces.
the units are pressed again
I place the stitched pieces back on the poster board squares and make
sure everything is in the correct position. Now, the pieces can be sewn
together in rows, seams pressed, and the rows sewn together to create
the finished block. 
All of the blocks for Tavern Blues are finished and squared. The next step is to add the sashing between the blocks, add the setting triangles and the borders.

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