Flying By The Seat Of My Pants……

I started off making some little flying geese blocks 1/2″x 1″ finished. Of course I did not have a plan, or know exactly what I was going to do with them. After I had finished a good little collection, I decided I better figure out what my exact plan was going to be. Do I want to make a miniature with lots of little flying geese? flyinggeese

So I did what many of you probably do, I turned to Pinterest and started looking at pictures. Found something that looked interesting and I just happened to have some left over cut pieces for triangles in a square star blocks from a previous project (Oh My Stars) Next I had to figure out how to make my little flying geese fit in with a 9 patch block that was 6″ finished. One would think it would be much easier and much faster to just draw it out…….but not this chickydoodle. I just started stitching pieces together until it fit. After all, I would not want me seam ripper (scissor actually) to feel left out.

Here I am doing the trial and error, to see what will work. I see I needed to add an extra goose in the corner blocks.

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I added and extra goose and played around some more to get everything to fit.

This is my  first completed block. Right away I was wishing I had made white geese with a red background so the geese would “float” But at least I got everything to work.

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Next, I reversed the star colors, because I already had a whole pile of red geese.

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Better, but still not what I was looking for. I still think white geese with the red background and white star would really pop. I am not sure what I will do now, my blocks finished off at 8″, much larger than I like in a quilt. So I do not see myself doing a whole large quilt, and yet they are too big to do a 9 block mini wall hanging. I still have a pile of flying geese left, so will finish those off and go from there. Meanwhile, these two blocks will hang out on my design wall, so they can tell me what to do next.

Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

 

Update…..I finished one, and oh boy did I get to make friends with my seam ripper.

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Somehow I managed to miss the fact that the bottom border is on backwards. Here it is completely quilted and bound. What is a girl to do? Well since no one got to witness the two hours I spend removing the quilting and binding, and taking the border off and turning it around and re-quilting and binding. It is almost like the power of photoshop. One minute it is wrong, and you read a bit farther, and suddenly it is right. It really was not that big of a deal to fix it, because I wanted it fixed. It went faster and easier than I expected, and most of all, I feel much better about it being as good as I can do. This little quilt finishes at 12 1/2″. I think I will sew the staggered geese border on the other one with the red background, going the same direction as the center geese. That is, unless I decide to do something different with it instead.

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The F Word….Fabulous, Fantastic, Flashy, Fantabulous, Fun, Flirty, Fabric……

We all love it, we all collect it, and we all pet it. I have to put my fabric purchases in the back seat out of sight or they distract me while I am driving. If it isn’t folded correctly I have been known to pull over and re-fold it before driving home. I pre-wash all my fabrics, so why is it important to have them all folded correctly for the drive home?

I have finally come to a point in my life where I have to stop buying fabrics just because I love them. I must have a plan. Well…. I have sort of come to that point anyway. There are still a few fabrics that grab me with out a plan, but not nearly as many. In the case of reds though, it is a free for all. I love red. I have a list of red and white quilts I need to make that is a mile long. I have a Dear Jane, and I might even get it finished in this lifetime. Right now I am rethinking my fabric choices and trying to decide if I need to start over or not. I am using red with white and white with red fabrics, but now I am wishing I had used solid reds and whites. Here are a few of my completed blocks, I think I have about 75 of them done.

 

Have you all seen the website Folk Art Museum-Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts. Over 600 red and white quilts owned by Joanna Rose. She collected them throughout her life. For her 80th birthday her husband asked her what she wanted for her birthday, and she replied that she wanted to be able to see all of her quilts at once, and give a gift of the show being open to the public for free. It took a year to not only find a place large enough for the exhibit, but also to design the display and make special hangers to hang all of the quilts.

I can’t even imagine walking into a show of 651 red and white quilts, let alone imagine owning that many quilts. I love how after all the quilts were hung, and Joanna was given the preview. She walked through and saw all the quilts and she says “Wait, there is one quilt missing” She then went home and found that one last quilt that didn’t make it into the show. She said she would not have known one was missing but it was her very favorite quilt.

OMgeeums, what an incredible collection. This display of red and white quilts is responsible for my purchase of 37 yards of Moda Bella Solids Christmas Red Fabric. Yes, you read that right, Thirtystinkingsevenyards.

I just had to buy the book “Red And White Quilts-Infinite Variety”. Every quilt in the show is pictured in the book and just makes me drool. At this moment, I am working on a red and white Drunkards Path, as well as a Winding Ways.

On my last vintage trailer camping trip, I stopped at a couple quilt shops that I don’t get to stop at often. I know it is hard to believe that I didn’t leave empty-handed. I broke the rule of no fabric purchases with out a plan. But I could not leave with out these Kim Diehl and Jo Morton Fabrics. How yummy are these?

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I still do not have a plan for the Kim Diehl pieces, but have made two small quilts with the Jo Morton fat quarter bundle. I still have enough for a couple more small quilts as well, but need to decide what I am going to make.

Winter is arriving here in Montana, so thank goodness we finished up almost all of the fall cow work yesterday. It is supposed to get to 14º below zero (f). I am not looking forward to that one little bit. But I guess I can hide out in my studio and work on some projects. I’ll let you know how it goes, and hopefully I will have a new quilt photo to share.

 

 

In remembrance of Joyce…….

We had a very special lady in our quilting group, her name was Joyce. Her favorite color for making quilts was red. For her 80th birthday everyone in our group gave her 2 red fat quarters in a little red wagon. She took all those fabrics and combined them with some creams and made this summer romance quilt, and had it hanging on her wall.

joyce  Every time we got together at her house, she would talk about how much the quilt meant to her and that it always made her think of all of us. While she was on hospice care, I decided I needed to make a “Joyce” quilt as well. So I asked all the girls in our group if they would give me a red and a cream strip out of their stash and sign their name to the cream because I wanted to make that quilt, and I wanted it to be as special to me as Joyce’s was to her. So everyone traded strips of red and signed cream, Joyce even signed a strip for each of us. It was not long after this that she passed away. I have looked at my box of red and white strips and thought about Joyce a lot over the past couple of years and finally was ready to make my “Joyce” quilt. I made mine smaller, the original pattern called for 8″ log cabin and court-house step blocks and I made mine 4″ I still need to add my border, quilt it and then cut the scallops in the border, but meanwhile I have it hanging up and it makes me think of Joyce every day when I see it. I am in the middle of rearranging and organizing my studio and the rest of the basement so it looks like a bomb went off. No sewing until it is finished, and then I will add my border. I will hang it on my wall of many small quilts, and post an updated picture when it is finished.

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Joyce had some quilts she was making as christmas gifts so we as a group would get together at her house and finish them for her because she was unable to. It really made her happy to not only have us all there keeping her company and doing what we love, but to also care enough to finish these quilts for her. She passed before Christmas, and looking back, I think maybe we should have wrapped them with the recipients name and then Joyce could have included a note. I know we did put tags on the ones we finished with who ever it was to go to. Those were some really special days and memories for us, and I know Joyce enjoyed our company.

 

When Joyce was 19, she started a hand pieced Grandmothers Flower Garden quilt. She worked on it here and there through out her life but never finished it. We had decided that we wanted to get it finished so she could enjoy it on her bed before she passed. I ended up doing all the work on it, but was unable to complete it before she passed. I worked frantically trying to get it finished. I had several blocks to make, and blocks to finish and rows to put together. I would bring it with me to each visit to show Joyce my progress. I had to take 3 of the flower blocks apart and re-stitch them. They must have been when she was just learning to stitch because the seam allowances were an 1/8″ or less in places. So not only was there the worry of them coming apart, but they also would not lay flat in the quilt. I was on vacation in WA. visiting family when Joyce passed, and I was only about 1/3 of the way in having it hand quilted. She was doing so well when I went on my trip, I was looking forward to stopping in to see her and show her my progress. I had talked with her along the way while I was working on the quilt and she talked about where some of the fabrics came from. I told her I wanted to include a note with the quilt so that when she passed, who ever received it would have the information. She told me then that she wanted me to have the quilt, that I at this point had already more work into it than she did. I told her that I was not working on it because I expected her to give it to me but that I wanted it finished so she could have it on her bed and enjoy it. She said she knew this but she still wanted me to have it. I have still not finished quilting it. When I got home from my trip, I put it away and just was not ready to work on it. I think now I am at a point where I can get it out and finish the hand quilting and just reminisce about what a wonderful lady she truly was.

I hope when my time comes, I will have as wonderful friends to gather round and share their love. I hope I can remain a fond memory in their hearts as Joyce has remained in ours. We miss you Joyce and think of you often. I don’t seem to have a place at this moment to take a nice picture of Joyce’s Grandmothers Flower Garden Quilt, but here is what I could get in a picture.joyceflower

 

Is your seam ripper your friend or your foe? or…..Learn to love your seam ripper.

None of us enjoy ripping out a mistake, but I have made a conscious effort to change the way I think about it. I have decided that I can only grow and improve as a quilter if I get really picky. I have always been pretty picky, and have had other quilters just shake their head and ask me why, when I take something out that they see as insignificant. But now I am really striving for perfect. I get a feeling of satisfaction when I see that piece in the middle of my finished top that may be perfect in every way except that it may not read as a dark or a light like it should.

I made this quilt (or this top, because it is still not quilted) to go in my tiny vintage camp trailer. After I hung it up and photographed it, I saw a couple of pieces that did not read as the right value from a distance. Now mind you, my little trailer is only 13′ long, which means the actual living space is only 10’x6’3″. So just how far away do you think you could get and have those particular pieces read the right value. But I took them out anyway, and replaced them with a darker fabric.

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Buggy Barn Pattern-Seeing Red

I have another quilt that I made about 15 years ago, and when I was quilting it, I somehow stretched one of the borders, so it had a little weewaa in it. Instead of taking all the quilting out, and fixing it, I made a partial block, appliquéd it on and quilted right over top of what was already quilted, then I added another partial block on the other three borders so it looks like it was planned. Everyone always tells me they love how some of the blocks extend out into the border. I then tell them why, and they respond that I should have kept it a secret and no one would ever know. But in sharing, I am giving ideas of how to fix something that is already quilted. It looks like I should have taken a few pins with me to help hang this one straight, with out the breeze blowing it around. This is the first and actually only quilt I have ever made, that the Mr. said I could not give away. It is a good thing he said that, because I did not even like it a little bit at the time, and probably would have given it away. It has grown on me now though, and is what I am currently using in my little trailer.

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Winding Ways/Wheel Of Mystery

A few weeks ago, I decided I needed to make a Feathered Star, sadly all I could find for resources were either paper pieced (did I say I was not a fan?) or used 1/16″ measurements. Not only am I not a fan of paper piecing, but I am also not a fan of eyeballing a 1/16″ measurement on my ruler. Because remember, I was striving for as perfect as I could make it. Once again flying by the seat of my pants, because I neither wanted to order one more specialty ruler that I would only use for one project, but I was ready to start right that minute. I also like little blocks, and feathered stars are not so easy to make teeny tiny with out paper piecing. I managed to get mine down to 9″. I made two, and neither one is perfect but I showed some improvement on number two. I did lots and lots of ripping and re-sewing. I think when you take out one section 12 or 13 times, it is time to admit that just maybe it is as perfect as I am able to get it. I am sure someone else could get it much more perfect, but this is about me and not about them. This was my first one, and somehow I do not have a picture of my second one, but I assure you it is better. The most difficult spot seems to be where that diamond joins on.featherstar1

So, instead of cursing your seam ripper, learn to tell yourself that you are learning and growing and improving.

One step forward and two steps back…..

I started working on our unfinished basement last winter with the intent of turning part of it into a bedroom and the rest into some storage and my quilt studio.

I still have a ways to go in getting things in order, and if I ever get the perfect paint color it would speed things up. I was going for a shabby chic look, but now I just do not know. I had an ugly shiny black dorm fridge that I had taken out of my vintage camp trailer,(something the previous owner had installed) I had a hard time picturing it in my shabby chic studio, so I painted it. It turned out pretty cute if I do say so myself.

First I wiped it down with alcohol, then I bought some wood trim pieces that I glued onto the door with liquid nails. Because the front of the door is curved  a little bit, I had to set some paint cans on them to hold them down while the liquid nails dried. Next I spray painted the entire fridge with spray paint, and then I used a home-made chalk paint and some dark wax. Here is the finished product.

Notice how white my walls are? Oh they were as white as can be. This is a basement room with only three small windows up near the ceiling so I wanted it nice and bright. What a mistake that was, everything looked so out-of-place against that white white, no tint in the paint what so ever walls. I lived with the white for a while hoping it would grow on me, but of course it did not. I am now on my 14th, yes you read that right, and I hope my last paint color. I hope I can get the walls painted tomorrow after I get finished working steer calves and hauling heifer calves up the creek to winter pasture.

I have a couple really fabulous vintage cabinets with glass doors to store my fabric in, and I love how the fabric looks behind the glass. I just started folding my fabric onto comic book boards, and it is so much easier to deal with and looks so nice. No more trying to get a  piece of fabric from the bottom of the stack, or trying to get a piece back into the stack.  All my fabric now stands up like it does at the quilt shop. One of the cabinets I got from my mother in law, and another I bought from a vintage trailer friend and one I bought off of Craigslist. The one I bought off of Craigslist was in really rough shape, with about 6 different paint colors. Every color of paint was also painted over the hinges as well, so the doors did not close well. I stripped that paint off with a heat gun (thank you Harbor Freight) Sanded and repainted it basically the same color it was to begin with. I took a drawer in to the hardware store and had them color match the paint. It was old white, old white that had aged and yellowed a bit. It turned out great, and now I am thinking maybe I should strip, repair and repaint the other two as well. I still need to strip and paint the rest of the knobs for it, and buy some new door catches for the lower doors.

The one in the middle is the one I got from my mother in law, and if I ever get all of my red and white fabrics all folded onto the comic book boards, it will be stuffed full. The little on one the right I got at a thrift store and sanded and painted. The table beside it is a baby changing table with an ironing pad on the top. I pull it away from the wall when I need to iron something larger (it has felt on the feet). My original plan was to put some doors on it, but with the round legs, it will not really work out. So for now it will stay the way it is until I can find something I like better. The cabinet I bought from a vintage camping friend is larger than the one pictured in the middle and the top is a separate piece. I do not have them put together yet because I have to get my walls painted or I will not be able to move it.

I just finished this little quilt the other day, also made with the fat quarter bundle of Jo Morton’s Gratitude fabric line. I still have enough of that bundle left for a couple more small quilts, so need to decide what will be next. I did add a couple more greens that were not Jo’s to the mix to balance out the brows and reds. 14633569_10210061962139893_7399085045271209217_o

Quilting and glamping….

In June, I drug my little 13′ 1959 Winnebago trailer from Livingston, MT. to Hamilton, MO. to a “glamping” retreat at Missouri Star Quilt Co. What is a glamping retreat you ask? It is a combination of glamour and camping. Missouri Star Quilt Co. (MSQC) was having a glamping retreat during international glamping weekend. Myself any my fellow glampers camped in the little park across the street from the retreat center. We all worked on our own projects, along with some mini classes we had during the retreat. What more could a girl want? Camping, vintage trailers, quilting, and an unlimited resource of quilting paraphernalia. I love red and white quilts and the list of red and white quilts that I would like to do seems endless. If you saw my Pinterest board you would understand. So of course I was working on a red and white quilt while I was at retreat. I saw a picture of this quilt on Pinterest that someone had taken a picture of at a quilt show. It was stunning and I just had to make it. I could not find any info on what the pattern was called or who had designed it, so once again, I was flying by the seat of my pants. I decided I wanted my blocks 6″ finished. I like small blocks in my quilts but I was afraid I would have a hard time piecing accurate triangle in a square blocks that were smaller than 2″. I managed to get most of the quilt made while at retreat, and was able to finish the top in an afternoon when I got home. I have yet to quilt it, because I am at a loss for what to do. I asked 4 long arm quilters and they were also at a loss. I think this is one of my favorite quilts I have made so far.  I call it “Oh My Stars” I love the illusion of the circles when you stand back and look at it. 20160609_183935

We got to have a tour of MSQC’s warehouse, at the time it was 40,000 square feet, and they were working on an addition which would add 100,000 more square feet. Imagine 40,000 square feet of fabric and notions. We only walked around the perimeter of the warehouse as they explained how they handled order picking and shipping. The red in the above quilt is Moda Bella Solids Christmas Red. I bought 7 yards of it from the Penny’s store and there was no more, the on-line catalog showed there was no more. So I said as a joke “Ok everyone, look for Moda Bella Solids Christmas Red” as we were walking along someone says “Hey, I think I see your fabric.” Sure enough a whole bolt was there, so I asked our tour guide if he would please check and see if it was really sold or if it had not been entered into the system. He checked for me, and said it was not entered and that I could buy it. I told him I wanted the whole bolt. Come to find out, there were also 2 additional bolts. After we got back to the retreat center, I said to one of the gals who was heading up the retreat that I was seriously thinking maybe I had better buy another bolt as well. I would rather have lots of one color of solid red, then many pieces of several colors of solid red. So I came home with 37 yards of red fabric. I have no clue how many yards of white on white I bought as well.

I also made a Hunters Star quilt with the same red, and I am currently working on a Drunkards Path quilt.

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I think I may be the queen of quilt tops, I can’t even begin to remember how many I have in my pile that need quilted. Hopefully I can get a couple done this winter after I finish painting my new quilt studio. I am only on my 13th paint color, and almost at the point of just going back to white. Which is what I had started with. My studio is in the basement and only has 3 small windows up near the ceiling. So I was thinking the brighter the paint the better. Well bright it was, but so stark that when ever I tried to hang anything, it looked out of place. Every paint color I have tried has been way too dark, even with getting the mix at 50% or less. I put the painting on hold for the summer, so now really feel the need to get it finished so I can set my quilt frame up.

 

Welcome to my crazy country life…..

Welcome to my crazy life…….where I have more projects than time. I am a wife and mother. We live on a ranch in Montana and my kids are grown. Which finally leaves me a little more time to do the things I love. I’m a jack of all trades and a master at none. I enjoy quilting, riding my horses, camping in my vintage trailer, turning junk into treasures, wood working, welding, and rowing, . I also wish I was a better photographer. I love red and white quilts and the list is long on those I would like to complete.

 

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“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”― Winston S. Churchill

I also love small quilts and I have been working on making enough for a wall of many small quilts. I have a long ways to go, but here are a few I have completed in the past couple months. I hung them on an old homestead cabin that is on our ranch for the picture. I love weathered and rustic wood.

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“Little Red Churn Dash, It’s A Piece Of Cake, I’m Only Half Square, Baby Bear (Paw)”

I am not real happy with the cake stand quilt, and I wish I had used a different background. I started out laying the blocks out on point, with alternating blocks in half square triangles took it apart and tried again with the plain background. Ended up taking it apart one more time and assembling it as above, but still not a fan.

I seem to take a lot of quilts apart because I fly by the seat of my pants, and dive in without a plan.

“Those Crazy Mountains” This little quilt was made with Jo Morton’s “Gratitude” fabric line, I am teaching a small quilt a month for the winter at our local quilt shop and needed to come up with two more quilts to teach. After making it, I dug out a barn wood frame I bought many years ago and decided to frame it. It does not quite fit, the bottom of the bottom row got cut off a bit, but I decided I like it anyway. I just wish I had thought of the frame when I designed the quilt so it would actually fit. Maybe next time.

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“Those Crazy Mountains”