Sunday, March 29, 2020

Squirrel Alert - C is for Coffee


Do you see Coffee in this pile of project boxes?

That's because it didn't exist before Friday night!

  Looking through Coffee-time Quilts by Cathy Wierzbicki, I saw a project that used coffee-themed fabric that reminded me I have a box full of coffee fabric, including this bright panel of cups:

Several years ago I had a secret sister who is a coffee fanatic.  
Each month I gave (or sent) her a cup that I sashed in bright colors, something like this.

I don't know if she ever did anything with them, but I was inspired to dig out the remaining panel.  Friday I separated the blocks, cut fabric for the sashing, and left the pile next to my machine.  
That pile greeted me yesterday morning and I made quick work with the blocks.  
I was inspired by Julie/JulieK Quilts to use HSTs for the setting squares.

Setting HSTs - fabric from stash
And by bedtime (albeit a late bedtime) all the blocks were finished:

Today I will finish assembly and add a border to make it a nice lap size.

But I digress!  Back to the pile of Cs.
(Speaking of coffee, you might want to grab a beverage; this list is long.)

C is for Castle Wall: This is a hand-piecing project that I started a couple of years ago with Mickey Depre at Pigeon Forge Mountain Quilt Fest.  I prepared a number of blocks to take on our TOALT in January, but never got them out of my backpack.  On the long flights it was so much easier to read a book on my Kindle, instead.

Castle Wall
The kitted blocks are next to my chair in the family room so I will be able to resume hand piecing once I finish the last of my binding pile.

C is for Caryl Bryer Fallert:  When Caryl still had her studio in Paducah, I purchased several cuts of her fabric and this pattern:

It looks like something that will require some concentrated time and attention to detail so I will re-file this project under I for Illusion.

C is for Christmas Table Runners:  This one runner simply needs quilting, so it will go in my pile of little projects that need finishing.

But there is a second project in the box.

The pieces are already cut to expand the wedges to a full-size.  I will refile this one under M with plans to finish it before the 4th of July.

C is for Continental Divide:  This one has not been started, but it is one I really want to make Someday.

A variation of Delectable Mountains from Debbie Caffrey's booklet Becoming a Confident Quilter, the fabrics have been selected and await the next retreat where I can give it my full attention.

Continental Divide fabrics
C is for Cursor:  Finally, something that will be a relatively quick finish!

This one dates from my "modern" quilt phase of a couple of years ago.  All the pieces are cut and a sample block made.  I am using only Grunge in this one.

I plan to put the two browns opposite each other in the final arrangement.  So this one will be next in line as soon as I get Buckeye Stars and Coffee Time off the design wall.

That's it for the Cs! If you got this far, I thank you for visiting.  Stay safe and keep well.

Linking with Quilting is More Fun than Housework.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Another B

and some updates

While reorganizing my project boxes, I found another B!

B is for Broderie Perse
Broderie Perse is a technique of cutting motifs out of a printed fabric and appliqueing them to a background in a new arrangement.  It was a popular technique in the 18th and 19th centuries when printed fabric had to be imported into the U.S.  Because it was expensive, flowers and swags could be cut out of small remnants and spread out, usually in a medallion style that resembled chintz palampores which often featured a tree of life in the center. (That's my definition, and I'm sticking to it!)

Anyway, I started this sometime before 2002.  I used an upholstery-weight fabric to cut the flowers and I included an old dresser scarf as a dimensional element. Everything is attached with fusible except the edges of the scarf.

Dresser scarf
I recently added a few more flowers to balance the composition.  Now top stitching and thread painting are all that need to be done before quilting.  I might treat this like Bullseye and let the stitching be the quilting.  Once I get a couple more of these little projects in a pile I will break out the Pfaff and get stitchin'!

Updates:  Great progress was made on Buckeye Stars yesterday!  I finished all the blocks today.  All the setting squares and triangles are cut and assembly has begun!  Only 5 long seams till I have to make a decision about the border.

The broth I made on Tuesday was a bit unremarkable by itself as lunch.  It definitely needed more salt and something in it gave it a little "off" taste -- maybe the one cabbage leaf or possibly the plethora of asparagus stems.  Anyway, I combined it with some leftover corned beef broth last night to make a sausage and kale soup in the pressure cooker.

Sausage-Kale Soup
My husband, who is not a big soup fan, declared it delicious and a "keeper"!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Sewing the Alphabet - B

B is for Buckeye Stars

and Bullseye

Buckeye Stars - This Rainbow Scrap Challenge from 2019 is about ready for a wrap-up.  I put the finished blocks on the design wall.

There were fourteen "acceptable" blocks, one that I felt that was too dark and matchy-matchy for a scrap block, and two more "hybrid" blocks (orange/green combos) ready to assemble.

Hybrid Stars
My first thought was to "increase" the size of the block by putting it on point. (Did you know a block takes up almost 1.5 times the space of a square block when put on point?)  But, of course, that requires finding a setting fabric.  I auditioned several; a couple competed with the stars for attention and a couple didn't speak the same language.  I finally settled on this recent purchase that has a lot of the colors in it but is very subtle in design.

If I do a 4 x 5 setting, I will need a total of 20 stars so I will be making a few extra in teal and yellow.

 Layout plan - colors to be rearranged
Next up is Bullseye.  This is a project I started in a class at the NC Quilt Symposium in 2017.

Taught by Ann R. Holmes, a stained glass artist, it is an interesting fusible applique technique where the finishing stitching is done when it is quilted.  It is small so I hope to be quilting this one and several other small projects during this period of self-isolation.

Cooking the Alphabet

B is for Broth and Biscuits

You know all those bits you trim off of vegetables?  The muddy ends and dried-up tips of celery, the nubby "feet" on a pepper, the woody stems of asparagus, the outer layers of onion, carrot peals ...

Well, experts say those bits are loaded with vitamins so I decided to start saving them from the landfill and make a broth with them, instead.  I collected bits in a baggie for several days and then tossed them into the freezer until I had enough.  Yesterday was the day to test this theory.

Cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, celery, red pepper, onion
Let me first say that many of these vegetables turn to mush when frozen, but I was hoping it would not affect the flavor.  I first sauteed some fresh onion and celery in canola oil to develop a little flavor.  I added peppercorns (maybe too many of them), bay leaf and dried thyme.  Oh, my, the house smelled wonderful!

I strained out the vegetables and as the broth was cooling, UPS arrived with a shipment from my sister-in-law in Savannah -- beaten biscuits!  I know what I'll be having for lunch today ...

Beaten Biscuit
These little gems are a Southern delicacy!  Originally the dough would be beaten to achieve the right consistency, hence the name.  Modern (as in early 20th century) invention of a mechanical device called a break (or brake?), similar to a pasta roller, made the task a lot easier.

Beaten Biscuit Break (ignore the i-phone cord)
Further modernization added an electric motor with a foot control.

Beaten biscuits were a specialty of my husband's grandmother.  My mother-in-law inherited the break and made the biscuits to give her friends at Christmas (decorated with a hand-made ornament).  My SIL has continued that tradition (without the ornaments).  Until this past Christmas when the motor died (we won't talk about the time she got her hand caught in the rollers).

The motor was replaced a couple of weeks ago and SIL is back in business -- that is, after I drove to Ingles in Knoxville to buy the necessary Martha White AP flower and shipped it to her.  They are great warmed with a pat of butter in the middle, but we eat them cold like potato chips.  YUM

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Sewing the Alphabet

A is for ... Anything?

No ... nada ... nothing

So let's move on to B is for Blue Toile.  A little back story:  In 2009 I combined simple blue-and-white pinwheels with 6" fussy-cut squares from a cute blue toile to make a throw quilt for the church's youth group auction.

I was left with Swiss cheese, but was able to salvage several more squares that I planned to put together with some of the other leftover pieces ... some day.  Bein' as B was at the top of my stack, this was one of the first projects that came with me to the new house two years ago.  And I was quick to start on it till I broke my right ankle about two weeks later.  Needless to say, my enthusiasm for the project waned ... till last week when I started this reorganization project.

I made some simple 9 patches to combine with the toile squares.

I was short two focus squares so I cut a couple from a companion floral fabric.  Those two went into the center of this 36" x 36" baby quilt that will be going to Jack's Basket.

Blue Toile

With back and binding, it's progressed to the TBQ pile and the box is empty!!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Alphabetical I-Sew-Lation

In this time of self-isolation, I decided a worthwhile project would be to reorganize my projects to see how many I can move a little further along.  I keep my projects in  Protect-n-Store boxes from JoAnn's scrapbooking department.  (Some quilt stores package their kits in these, too.)

Project storage
I can stack five of these 12"x12"boxes in the Itso cubes I got at Target (no longer available there or Amazon, either).  At the time they were the only cubes that would accommodate a 12" square.

These are organized in alphabetical order (it's a personal flaw, I know!).  Well ... most of the time, but sometimes I raid a box for a ruler or some of the fabric and it doesn't get put back in its proper spot.  (I won't even talk about the stacks on top of the cubes ... another personal flaw.)

So ride along with me as I work my way through the stack alphabetically.  In my world numerals come before letters, so the first project is "1 Lump or 2" from Coffee Time Quilts.  I realize now I should have labeled that box with letters instead of numerals!

One Lump or Two
But first, a little background ... Around 2007-8 I had the "great" idea to make three identical Christmas quilts for our two married sons and my sister-in-law.  I chose this pattern by Margot Langedoc:

I have come to love Margot's patterns, but this was a little above my abilities at the time.  I was using a new-to-me $75 Janome from Hancock Fabrics and hadn't mastered its quarter inch so all those HSTs were a mess!  The one top I DID finish was donated to a catastrophe in Washington state.  My dilemma, though, is that I had already cut pieces for all three quilts!

I thought One Lump or Two would be a good alternative pattern that would use the mound of 5" squares and 3" squares I had already cut.

My first block is boring and clunky.

I went ahead and made a bunch of the 4-patches but I am still looking for a better project that will use these pieces.  In the meantime, the project box has been relocated between the N and the P!

Thursday, March 19, 2020


A milestone, a finish, and a loss

Milestone:  This is my 1,000th post since I started this blog on October 10, 2013.  A lot has changed since then -- MIL is no longer with us and we no longer live on a hill ... unless the slight cliff overlooking the lake counts!  However, I still cook and quilt and enjoy watching the wildlife around us.  And I still teach a few quilters now and then.

Finish:  Our little quilting group, the S'mores, has issued a challenge to finish 20 projects in 2020.  The "finish" can be anything -- knitting, quilting, cleaning out a closet -- and any stage you set to be a finish (in my case it's a finished top).  This morning I put the finishing touches on #7, the peacock panel One Block Wonder.

Peacock OBW
It isn't my finest work, but it's done.  I had a lot of trouble getting seams to match and I think that is mostly due to rushing through the cutting in a class situation with less-than-ideal conditions.  In my last post I showed Finish #5, a small throw made with the leftover hexies.

Finish #5 One Block Wonder
So what about the other five finishes?, you may be asking.

#1 - Perfect 36 (Suffrage quilt)
#2 Celtic Solstice
Added 2 missing triangle squares
#3 Meadow Mist Mosaic Mystery
Top completed (but I may still add a border)

#4 Sand and Surf (Bob and Weave)
Finished binding on this and 3 others
#6 On Radnor Lake (On Ringo Lake mystery)
Made do with finished blocks - 50x60
Loss:  Ten pounds since returning from vacation!  Losing my appetite while I had a terrible chest cold was an incentive to keep losing.  And having no more Halloween or Christmas candy in the house has helped me achieve this goal.  It's been a few ounces a day; now I'm shooting for 10 pounds more.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Nearing the Finish Line

and a Bonus Finish!

Back in July -- seems like a lifetime ago -- I took a class on Panel One Block Wonder at Tennessee Quilts Fest in Johnson City, TN.  It takes SEVEN panels -- six for the hexies, plus the intact panel for the center.

I dithered and doubted and, in the end, bought three sets of panels.  (Had I been wiser, I would have bought one of each, made a decision, and then ordered six more of what I chose.)  I went with the peacock.

I am closing in on the finish of this piece.  I just have a half-hexie to replace on the right side ...

... and some filler pieces to cover selvedge at the top ...

One of the reasons I chose to work on this project is because it is mostly teal, the RSC color for March (my photos don't do it justice).

The bonus finish -- I used the leftover hexies to make this lap quilt.

It is about 40 x 50, just right to keep the draft off your feet.  
Finish # 5 for the S'mores 20-in-20 challenge.
(For me, a top/flimsy is a "finish")

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

In like a lion

Just a quick note to say we are fine here on the Plateau.  
Son-1 dodged the bullet in Nashville; 
his neighborhood took a pretty heavy hit but not like downtown.

I decided to stay in out of the rain today and finished up Mosaic Mystery (designed by Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs).

Mosaic Mystery
I really need to think of a name for this one.  It was fun working with the neutral colors.  I couldn't find a suitable border fabric -- I know what you're thinking!  So I am just going to count it finished, as is and will add a solid black binding.  It will measure about 50" x 60", a nice lap size.

I love it when blocks come together as planned ...

I am especially proud of these ...

But there were quite a few of these ...

Thanks, Cheryl, for a fun and easy mystery!