10 November 2016

Stars Over the Cabin Finish! Next Quilt Basted, Ready To Go!

Just a quick mid-week check-in and some pics to share:

The Stars Over the Cabin Quilt is 100% done.
Yes, even the label!
Looking back, this has really been pretty fun
and definitely a rewarding project.

I'll admit there were times it seemed to almost drag along
but I'm so glad I chose this pattern, these colors...
this whole project!

I tried everything I could think of to get a full picture.
I didn't want to bring in a ladder.
I considered laying it out on the lawn but that made me nervous.
I even had my 6'1" son stand on the sofa...

Not quite!  But, oh well.  I don't like to spend too much time
trying to take perfect pictures anyway!

It'll be a bit of an effort to let this go--aren't they all?
We spend a lot of time with our quilts before we send them away.
But, truly I am very excited for when my husband and I drop
this surprise off to one of our favorite couples and friends.
I should make sure that happens this weekend,
before I get more attached, right?

I'm still struggling with limitations
(well, honestly I can do most things but then I will pay dearly, esp at night,
for doing them.  I just cannot understand why it's not getting better!)
but I've been trying hard to get at least some
of the fall cleaning done around here.
I've tackled the windows in small sections--a few at a time and
when I have someone around to help.
I still have my sunroom left to do--eight large windows--and the fact
that it's November already was starting to make me think
they might never get done.  However, one of my sisters is stopping by
and we should get them polished off tomorrow morning.

But that meant getting some things I've been
working on finished and put out of the way.
So up went the third quilt this afternoon.

I still can't believe I used to baste all by hand!
Now I just make one line of stitches along the very outside
of the quilt but the rest is all pinned.
And I always take the opportunity to use up old thread.

Another full weekend ahead but, as always,
hoping to get in some quilting time.

Happy weekend to all!

07 November 2016

Machine Quilting Vines and Pumpkins on Stars Over the Cabin

Last week I worked on quilting my ivory/red quilt.

I really need a better name, don't I?
How about Stars over the Cabin?
OK, I only gave that about two seconds of thought
but we'll just go with that for now.

Knowing this big quilt was going to be difficult to control,
I chose a simple design of leaves and vines.

Not only did I stick to the diagonal design with my quilting,
I also used a darker tan thread on the red diagonals.
I'm not sure that either effort really shows up to the average
eye but I just felt like I needed to work with the quilt's design
rather than just a complete random pattern all over.

While I was busy knotting up my shouldersquilting,
Chloe was kind enough to keep me company.
Oh, alright--she didn't even know I was there.

I recently splurged on some quilting t-shirts.
(on clearance, of course!)
It is important to dress for the occasion.

Back to my quilt--what to put in these center squares...
Long story short, I realized that with the
vines and leaves, pumpkins would work well.

Besides, they're my favorite thing to quilt.
Which may or may not have something to do with the fact that
I love pumpkins and gourds in general.  

So much that
I have to grow them in large numbers.

And decorate with them in wild abandon...

Sorry, getting carried away there.
Back to quilting pumpkins.
I wish I had pics of the process but it's simple:
Starting at the top, I make an outline of the pumpkin.
Then begin making 2 curved lines on each side,
down and then back up on one side; repeat on the other.
Add a stem, curly vines if you want and ba-bing.

A pumpkin.
There's no messing it up.
They come in all shapes and sizes!

I tried to avoid making this quilt especially seasonal, but
then I decided to date it "Thanksgiving '16" and then add
something on the label about being thankful for good friends.
(Did I mention this is a surprise for some good friends?)

Pumpkins are a win/win with all that in mind.
I really wanted this finished before the weekend was up
but I'm still hand-sewing the binding.
I enjoy it--I just have to take some breaks.
It's a big quilt!
I'll be finishing up this afternoon while I do some
baking on the side.

Update:  Finished quilt pic here.

My son's class needs cookies for their retreat tomorrow so
I want to also get 4 or 5 batches of dough in the freezer
(depending on how my molting ladies are doing out in the coop;
eggs have been slim pickings these days!)
to have on hand for the upcoming holiday, visitors, etc.
I've also been making some duplicate dinners, getting
meals put away here and there.  The count is only
at three meals but that's three days of non-stop
quilting ahead.  All of this takes very little time now
but saves a ton of time (and dishes) in the future.

(traced picture back to Home Sweet Home's Facebook page,
not sure where the credit belongs?)

Speaking of retreats, this might be the prettiest house ever.
Just the right size, just the right (quiet!) setting! 
I'm a sucker for trees, especially in the fall.
It would make the perfect retirement home.
Or, if we're being really frivolous, how about a
quilt retreat/get-away house?

This weekend finally brought some fall weather to Kansas
(along with another earthquake but that's another story).
Today we even have some occasional light rain; it's 59 degrees
and barely a breeze with leaves laying all around.
Every glance out every window just warms my quilter's heart...
even if I'm having some trouble adjusting physically.

May your week be full of quilting!

Linking to

02 November 2016

Why You Never Give Up

Someone out there is going to be proud of me for this.

I haven't really watched baseball in, well, forever.
Unless you count my own kids' games.
And I did watch a play or two of our KC Royals
when they were in the Series last year.
(don't worry--I'm getting to the quilting part...)
But my husband has always been a Cubs fan and all of the
hoopla about them FINALLY making it to the World Series seemed
kind of fun so I've caught myself watching here and there.
  Last night especially--I even got pretty excited.

But, you know me, I will hardly ever just sit and watch tv.
I was searching for design ideas for my next quilt
and practicing on paper.

And what should come up on Pinterest but those darned feathers.
I've tried these many times over the years only to give up.
More quickly than I should, too, but they just make me feel like
I've never touched a pencil before, let alone a sewing machine.
I'd start out sort of "ok" and then it would totally lose its shape.

So there I was, cheering and drawing, and suddenly
I looked down and....I did it.
Far from perfect but an actually feather had emerged!
I don't know what clicked but I found a groove.
I spent just a few minutes at the machine today and
I think, with more practice, I might just put this
into one of my quilts in the near future.

The lowest one was my first go; above, it got better.

I've got more work to do, I know, but the
Cubs have been trying to get into the World Series 
much, MUCH longer than I've been trying to figure out
those feathers! However, the lesson is the same:

Never give up!
Go Cubs!

My husband and boys years ago on our family trip to Chicago.
We got to see a Cubs game along with lots of museums etc.
So much to do in Chicago!

31 October 2016

Monday Check-In

Happy Halloween!

With my machine up in our sun room 
(I guess I just like a good view of the fall when I quilt?)
I jumped right in and started quilting.  At least I tried...

It never takes her more than a minute!

I wanted to try something new so I first played around with butterflies.
I can't believe these things are harder than they look.  I went through
quite a few different variations and finally zero'd in on the one I thought
I could do.  But even half-way through the quilt, I still found them difficult
to make at least somewhat-uniformly.  I also struggled with uniform
distances and uniform stitch lengths.

But I took my time, tried my hardest under the circumstances,
and most of all, I enjoyed myself.  And I learned from it. 
Anyway, I think they're all at least passable.

I discovered a new border that I found very do-able.
I doubt I'm the first to do mushrooms but I've never seen them
anywhere else so I'd like to think I'm breaking some new
ground here.  

It was a pretty busy weekend so it wasn't till today that I
was able to finish up the last of the quilting.

Happily, I had fabric in my stash for the binding so I was able
to move right along...and look at that!  I've been trying out some
different methods of finishing off the binding and, with the one I
tried today, I had only to trim off a mere 1/8 of an inch!
I have never had a binding come that close!
Well, waste not, want not, right?

My husband and I are planning on taking a nice walk in the fall air
while lasagne bakes in the oven, and after dinner maybe
watching a movie--which should be just the time to sew
the back of this binding down.

Happy sewing!

27 October 2016

Log-Cabin Star Quilt Top Finish

I'm a little behind and I've been anxious to share this
quilt top so, now that I have a little time,
 I'm not going to wait for my Monday Check-In.
Today it's a Friday Check-In!

I love how it turned out in "the big picture"; up close you do kind of
lose the design but it's full of prints that lean toward the autumn
season and colors that should carry it through Christmas so I'm
hoping that will be the "up close" enjoyment.
As we know, I'm a border person so I tried like heck to get a
border to work on here but this quilt would just have none of it.

I gave up and settled on a binding fabric that would pull out
the deep brown in the middle of the log cabins as well as the
reds in the quilts.  If you recall, I picked up the backing for this
 quilt on the shop hop, buying all that was on the bolt from the
clearance rack.  Amazingly, I have just barely enough.  Barely.
(And I hope that doesn't come back to haunt me when I go to baste it together!)
So, it turns out the "no border" is a win regardless of my personal
design tastes.  And, frankly, it's already too big for me to enjoy
 the quilting--73" x 97".  Good thing I left off a column and row!

Over in the kitchen...

It seems I just can't let a year go by without some canning.
I always make more fruit jams and jellies than we can possibly eat
so I'm always looking for different ways to serve it.  Lately, we've
come to love pepper jellies so I wanted to start experimenting there.
I've had a batch of blackberry that just didn't set up well this summer
so I decided to try re-processing it.  I also decided to add in jalapeƱos
(and lemon for acidity)--not a new jelly for us but I've never
tried to re-process (and add in more pectin) anything before.

Because we had a good pear harvest this year, I also thought
it would be a great time try some pear jalapeƱo jelly...

and then thought why not
try roasted poblano pear jelly as well?

The final products of my work in the Test Kitchen.
Jams and jellies are tricky to mess with so the final test
will be when we taste them, and if they last on the shelf.

Our quick and easy snack is to pour a pepper jelly over
softened cream cheese and serve with tortilla chips.
However, my favorite way to enjoy them is on a good brie
grilled on a cedar plank and topped with pecan halves, 
and served up with some nice crackers,
which is exactly how I'm hoping to try out the one
of pear jellies this weekend.

Our first football play-off game is tomorrow night--an easy win.
The following evening's forecast should be perfect for our plans of
enjoying drinks and snacks with friends around the fire pit...
and under some quilts, of course.  
Also, our daughter and her husband will be in town.

All of this will keep me busy but I had my son set up my machine
in our sunroom just this evening which means I'm ready
to get all four of those quilts quilted.
I should still find a little time to get a start.

Happy fall quilting!

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