29 September 2020

Last To-Do's of September and The Great Pumpkin?

Here we are nearing the end of September and
fall has arrived!  Oh the glorious sweater weather!

How can you not be in the mood to quilt!?
I've certainly kicked it up a bit.  I have a finish,
an almost-finish and a lot of completed blocks
to share so let's get right on into the ta-da's.

From last week's list:

 1) Bind and completely finish the garlic knots.
Yes!  It's a finish!  As they say in the Army, "Hooah!"

 I did some serious power binding, I tell you!
Because I machine-sew all of it, I never rush through
this part because that messes with my accuracy.
(I don't mind hand-sewing but I can save so
much time doing it by machine.)
But I've just been so busy on my other projects that I
let this one go till yesterday afternoon.  If it weren't
for this Tuesday To-Do thing, it probably would have
sat there till today or maybe even tomorrow but
I made a goal and by golly, I'm gonna meet it!  

Autumn Accolades (88 X 103)

You know what?  For rushing, I didn't do too bad.
I finished that binding in record time--like a pro.
Like someone who had been quilting for a long time.
Oh, hey...that's me.

Something like 20 years, not counting all the years
of sewing clothes and everything else before.

The quilting pantograph is
Pumpkin Fest by Urban Elementz.

Btw, I have a quilt-naming tip:
Hit the online thesaurus and start searching any
feature of your quilt.  I do this a lot but I also love
thesauruses [thesauri?] so I can kinda get lost.

Anyhoo, I started by searching the word
"wreaths" because the knots make out wreaths
and it was only a step or two to accolades.

So here is my praise to autumn and all its splendor.
And inspiration.

(Clearly I had too much fun taking pics.)

2) Complete quilting on West Point.
I'm gonna digress a bit here but just work with me.
I'll bring it back around.

I've quilted long enough that I just don't "learn"
as often as I used to, or rather, I don't encounter
new info about the actual craft of quilting like I did when
I was a newbie so I was pretty darned excited to learn
something new the other day when I was watching
the MSQC video that kicked off their 12th birthday
celebration.  Jenny shared her reason why they only
do edge-to-edge quilting at Missouri Star.

She said it is because she wants her quilts
to be used and to be loved. That means they're
going to be washed and take some wear.
Of course!
Making specific and separate designs is beautiful on a
quilt that is to be art but of course a single quilting design
in, say, each individual block would cause a quilt to
separate out into compartments with usage and wash
rather than serve to hold it together.  I have always been,
like Jenny, a quilter who wants her quilts loved and used.
If one gets used up I have 10 more to replace it!
(...and here's where I bring it back around.)
I debated for a month about what to do on this West Point
quilt.  I had a lot of ideas but nothing that made me want
to jump on there and start quilting.  When I heard Jenny's
 reasoning, I was relieved.  Issue solved, decision made.

 Just a few weeks ago, my sister and I discussed
pantograph quilting v. FMQ, rulers and such. 
If I'm really enjoying pantograph quilting,
 why stop now?  There are other areas I want
to challenge myself in so I'll focus on those.

(notice the threads all over the floor!)

Speaking of challenge!
I have to share one more thing about this quilt.
 I think we've all played Bobbin Chicken before but
apparently I like to take things up a notch and play
Backing Chicken.
I won with just one little inch to spare!
I would have just trimmed the border down if it
hadn't worked out but I knew I could do it!

Back to that long story and making it short: 
I went with the pantograph all the way.
The quilting is complete; the binding and label
should be going on today.  It will get finished
before I head out on the shop hop!

3) Work on new Mini-Double Nine-Patch.
I've been doing some marathon sewing here.

Lots of football watching this weekend!
The new machine is getting some time logged, for sure.
But you know what was driving me crazy?  I missed the
surface from my bigger machine--so I got an idea...

My extension table!
No, it doesn't wrap around exactly but it's close
enough.  My sewing speed went up by 40% just by
having it there.  I guess that will be something I do
without if I ever travel with this one but I can sure
bring it from the sewing room to the living room!

I'm a little farther on these blocks now but 
this pic shows what's going on, and I love it!
You do a lot of thinking while you're sewing right?
At some point, I get around to wondering exactly how
many pieces are in the quilt I'm working on so:
4410...unless I go even bigger (I doubt it!).
And those little squares finish at 3/4".

I need about 25 more blocks but I'm running out of
these little sets.  With all of the strips I started with, I
knew I'd end up with extra so I set some partial strip
sets aside so I could see what colors I wanted more
of before finishing up.  I definitely want more of the
pale green/gold combos.  To me, they look like light
coming through the trees.

I cannot get enough of looking at this quilt and
what the blocks are creating.  I really wanted this
to be a Christmas gift but I tell you right now,
I can't let this one go.
If you've done this, please let me in
on the story so I can feel a little less guilty.
What am I going to do with two more fall quilts?

4) West Point Table Runners
I have plans for these.  Really!  I'm just not
sure they'll happen this week or next.  See #5.
I also have another West Point sewing project
in mind but goodness!  So much going on!

5) Gardening stuff
Still canning tomatoes.
The second burst of pumpkins are doing well;
no threat of freeze so far.  Of that new burst, I've
picked 2 more pie pumpkins and one larger one.
Grow, pumpkins, grow!

If you've been wondering about the record-breaking
hopefuls, I don't think it's going happen.  I had to pick
one of them and he only weighed in at 42.6lbs, with
a girth of 51.5".  (My record is 56.4.)  The other one is
still on the vine but doesn't seem to be growing, though
it's hard to say.   I guess it's not a bad showing and
hey, there's always next year. 

A friend requested a walker bag to use while she
recovers from knee surgery so I spent an afternoon
making this little bag.  I think it turned it pretty cute,
except for the fact that the lining fabric was printed
crooked.  Had I been paying more attention, I would
have lined it up horizontally instead of vertically
when I was cutting it out.  It's a great little pattern
that I got off of Etsy.  
(I get nothing for this referral--just sharing.)

Saturday was likely our last hot day.
Knowing the weather was going to turn cold, we 
put our feet in the pool one last time and just
enjoyed the last taste of summer till next year.

We've been hoping for weeks now that the pool
would warm back up.  Saturday it reached 80'.
So close!  On a hot day, I'll get in at 82 but the
air was cool and the sun was setting.  I readily
welcome fall but this day is always a little sad.

But sweaters, fall leaves and hot drinks are here.
Shop hop, a short vacay, lots of quilting, football,
chili, family time--all coming up so, feeling blessed,
we say goodbye to summer and hello to fall!

For next week's to-do's I'm keeping it simple.

Next week's To-Do's:

1) Take pics from hop and quilt/vintage sale; 
post for everyone.
I emptied 3 bolts on the above projects so I'm feeling
good about some intense fabric shopping.

2) Finish WP quilt and list.  Try to get something
going with those table runners?

3) Work on "September" if I get time?
I might call it September Glow?
(Putting question marks after things
takes away the pressure, right?)

One last little thing--a fabric purchase:

Unfortunately, the coloring is off in the pic but I got
a few new ones last week--the first is olive and that
second one is black.  Oy!  The bolt on the bottom from
my stash goes super-well so I'm hunting for ideas.
I love the simplicity of the early-American/colonial
look so we've been trying to move toward this
just a little.  I like traditional and timeless--if
anything for its practicality.  The new light fixtures
hubs just put up me have made me so happy
that I'm wanting to move on to the next thing.
(I'm a very slow decorator!)
Maybe a nice early-American quilt?

Watch for LOTS of fun quilty pics next week!
Right now I'm off to the dentist.  Fun, fun.
(Just a semi-annual check-up.)

Happy quilting!
Linking up to:

26 September 2020

September's One Monthly Goal An Easy Finish

I'm linking up to Elm Street Quilts' One Monthly Goal 
today to share with everyone over there what some
of you may have already seen earlier this month.

My September goal was to complete
the quilting, binding and label on my
Squirrel in the Secret Garden.

These large quilts do take extra time but at the
completion there is also a sense of extra
accomplishment, especially when I'll be able to
enjoy it daily on my bed next spring.

A few pics by the roses for more of a
spring/summer feel!

October is already shaping up to be a very busy month
and it hasn't even started yet!
But it's all such fun busy stuff so I'm looking forward
to writing up all those posts.  Meanwhile, I thought
I'd better get a head start on that monthly goal.
We'll see you on the October OMGoal link up!

Happy quilting!

22 September 2020

I'm Running Out of Names For These To-Do Posts

 I had a decent week of getting things done,
though not a great one.  But I have excuses
for not finishing all my to-do's!  (Don't we all?)
I'm feeling a long post coming up so you might
want to grab a cup of something hot.
(Note: sorry for any inconsistent font sizes.
The new Blogger changes it randomly.)

First, The List:

1)  Finish quilting garlic knot quilt
Well, technically I have two rows left but I'm taking a
break to write this.  It'll be done when this gets posted.

I have a perfect pantograph for this with oak leaves and
acorns (the background fabric is a tiny oak/acorn print)
but I wanted to see pumpkins on my fall bed quilt!

So, pumpkins it is.

I'll share a full pic till next week.

2) Load up West Point quilt
(start on quilting when thread arrives)
The thread is here; I'm loading it today.

3) Start on West Point table runners?
Hoping to pop out 2 or 3 here.
Um...All I can say is it's fall and there are
a lot of squirrels at work out there.
More on that in my to-do's for next week.

4) Garden Stuff
Just the usual tomato canning etc.
(Another 8.5 pints.)

I've started pulling some plants here and there.
That gives me a sense of "Ah, winding down!"

There are so many marigolds and sunflowers that
if they're to be feed for the chickens, I have to start
now or they'll be "wasted" at the first freeze.
And so, slowly, the mayhem gets cleaned up.

Sorry, I didn't warn you arachnophobes out there this time!

The garden spiders are showing up everywhere.
I've also found the first egg sac.  I know that probably
grosses a lot of you out but it's a happy sight to this
almost-completely-organic gardener.
I hope to be back to 100% organic gardening from
here on out.  The Aphid-Ladybug War of 2020
convinced me.

The damage of that war is still there but through it has
come a new burst of leaves, vines and tiny pumpkins.  

I only pray they make it before the first freeze.
Pumpkins are fully susceptible to that.  The pumpkin
in the above pic has already gotten about 4 times larger
and should start turning soon so there's one at least!
I love it when they spread through the fence and into the
back yard so I can see them from our pergola.

There they take some maintaining because they will
very quickly get themselves stuck in the fence.
I caught this one in time but he has the marks of an
"escapee."  I like his wonky shape so it's all good.
He's forgiven.

Now to check in on the chickens.
If you're not into them, feel free to scroll down to
the part where I get a new sewing machine.
And if you are into chickens but are more into new
sewing machines, just be patient.
These are pretty chickens!

I finally contacted the hatchery to confirm
some issues with my order.

Not my Brahma rooster.  Photo credit.

I did not receive the Brahma rooster that I ordered.
I'm super-sad about this because...well...

I received instead a Brahma hen with some fun
feathery legs and that will have to do.

As fortune would have it, I accidentally received a male
Cuckoo Maran along with my other 3 Cuckoo Maran hens
 so at least I have a rooster.  Just two days ago, I finally
heard him crow!  I'm a little sad I missed any first pathetic
attempts because those are hilarious.  I suppose it could
be he's just gifted and needed no practice?
Here's hoping he can at least tell time better than our
last rooster who crowed whenever and wherever
he darned well felt like it.

Above are the golden comets (brown eggs).

Bernadette, one of the Easter Eggers.  Their 
"beards" amuse me...and make for funny pictures.
(She's the friendliest)

Olive eggers--note the small head tufts.
(Obviously, olive eggs--love these!)
In the back left is a French Copper Maran.
(Dark brown eggs)

Cuckoo Marans--first time with these.
(Dark brown eggs)

...and a very white Easter-egger.
I also have a dark gray Easter-egger (not pictured).
 I had to confirm the identity of both of these with the
hatchery due to their unique [to me] coloring.  These
lay beautiful pastel eggs, usually in blue-hues and
occasionally greenish. Even more rare are the 
pinkish-brown eggs--I have never gotten any.
But anyway, thus the name "Easter Egger".

Needless to say, we don't need to color eggs
for Easter.  Nature does it better.
(In all, 18 hens & one rooster.)

Okay, about that new sewing machine.
I know most have a second smaller and lighter
machine but so far I haven't really needed one.
Still, over the last year or so I've been kind of
watching for a much simpler version of my Elna.

I have mentioned that, with the empty nest and all,
I've started doing some extra sewing while I watch
football and movies with the hubs over the weekends.
Moving the big machine around just wasn't working
so I upped my search and finally found this one for
a lovey low price.  It took a little getting used to a
lighter version but it seems to be a nice solid
machine and it can share bobbins and feet.
I wanted everything to be fluid--no extra pieces!

So, what's the plan for this week?

My To-Do's:

1) Bind and completely finish the garlic knots.

2) Complete quilting on West Point.
My goal here is to make sure it's done before the
Shop Hop--or I can't go...
Okay, nothing will stop me from going on that
shop hop but it's good to have motivation.

3) Work on new Mini-Double Nine-Patch.
Here's where the "squirrel" comes in.
I can only do so much quilting at a time so
I needed to start another project.

I really wanted to keep working with the fall colors.
After all, today is just the first day of fall!
Some of these are in the garlic knots quilt but I've
brought in others; I've left out the blacks,
purple and blues. I kept it only to the colors of the
fall leaves rather than all of fall so, believe it or not,
 this one already has a name:
I realize these are more like October for Kansas
but these are the colors that fill my mind in
September so I am naming it accordingly.

The new machine and I became much better
 acquainted over the weekend while making
lots of strip sets and the first few blocks.

I have lots of cutting and piecing ahead yet
but I'd like to get a good start on the
90 blocks by next week.
(I'm making it larger as it's for a Christmas gift.)
The finished squares are a tiny 3/4".
If you think I'm crazy, it really is enjoyable.
Perfect for listening to a book.

(The directions are in a recent MSQC Block book

4) West Point Table Runners
I have plans for these.  Really!  I'm just not
sure they'll happen this week or next.  See #5.

5) Gardening stuff
Oh just whatever I get done will get done.
I'm taking care of some other winter-prep things like
getting the chimney cleaned, appointments, etc.
Nothing special but things that you feel good after
completing--especially so early--so we'll just
leave it at that.

And so, happy quilting to all and to all a good week!

Linking up today to:

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