Cheaters and Honest Quilters

Barbara Beckman posted an article yesterday about cheater fabric; fabric printed to look like quilt piecing. Some quilters think it is a new thing. Barbara is so good at documenting the truth. I am sharing news prints that she used to prove that “cheater” fabric has been around for a long time.

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This is one that I happen to own:

45 inch square quilt backing

Barbara showed this same print.  And this was her report on it:

Printed patchwork, about 1880.  Probably from the Cacheco Mills.

Below is the front of the quilt. It is very nice, but I mainly purchased it for the backing.

Front of Antique Quilt

A friend and I discovered this piece at an antique flea market.  While we were holding it, a lady finally asked if we planned to buy it.  We have learned that if you are thinking about making a purchase, keep it in your hands.  If you lay it back down, someone else might grab it. We answered that we were just determining which one of us was making the purchase.

Barbara also posted this ad from 1910 and it is actually called “cheater” fabric.  This one is dated 1910.

America's Textile Reporter 1910

Now for the real thing.  While I was in France the only cotton fabric I saw was at a linen store. I purchased a different 100% cotton printed napkin for each member of my small group. Then I purchased additional napkins of more solid colors. I cut these up and the gals were given two inch strips of these. They were challenged to do something with them. They could add one other fabric. They had three months to do this. I am not sure when each of them started, but I started very early ……..the morning of the meeting day.

Most of the gals did table toppers. My picture of one of them turned out very fuzzy, so I will have to try to get someone else’s photo. Here are the others:

 

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French linens

The last photos are of Linda’s and she struggled just as I did. Her printed napkin did not harmonize with the 2 inch strips. She solved it by making two items; a tote bag and a clutch bag.  How clever and she did not break any of the rules.  She said she cut apart a paper gift bag to use as a pattern.

Linda’s challenge

I am so proud of all of them. Great Creativity!

They have also been working on other projects.  Show -N-Tell is always good.  I will share Linda’s first as you just saw her other creations.  She has been trying very hard to finish some UFOs and she even does the quilting on her regular sewing machine.

Carol has sent some of her quilts to Missouri Star to have the long arm work done.  She keeps busy doing binding.

The navy and cream quilt was worked on at a retreat.  She stayed on task but was disappointed she didn’t seem to be making a lot of progress.  She really was as this block pattern has a zillion pieces.  The quilter used a dark thread and it really enhances the quilt.  I was surprised.  When you think about it, a light thread on the navy would have probably been a distraction.  The Christmas quilt was a small group project a while back.  I love the way she used the strip border on a diagonal cut.  She did a lot of starching before she cut it.  She had enough fabric to do great intersections.  She explained that she started at the top, then did the right side, bottom, and left side last.  The last one would still be tricky as she had to match two corners.  Great Job, Carol!

Below are Sherry’s work completed. The first one is called “FQ Shuffle”  and requires 12 FQ.  She said that you use every piece of them.  We all buy those little treasures, but when do we actually use them?

The second one is made from a purchase at a show.  Most of us have seen the booth with a package of a yard of each of five fabrics.  They also provide you will a variety of patterns to use with the set.  And, Sherry got hers done!

The next photos are of what I have been working on.  It is a Di Ford pattern that appears in her new book, Primary Quilts…2.  She is an Australian quilter and designer.  This book is just arriving in the states.  I was privileged to take a class by her.  I purchased the needed fabrics, but later decided to make it a little longer.  When I went back to the local store to buy more of the red fabric, there was no more.  I had enough information to go on-line and hunt.  I found the right fabric line, but alas, they produced 3 or 4 shades of red.  I now have some of each one except the one I needed!    Instead I worked with every scrap I had and it will now fit on a full sized bed.

The pattern name is Jane’s Garden.

You are seeing the same border, cut two ways.  When it returns from the long arm magician you will see which way I choose to cut it.

Have a Blessed Easter!

Bunnies quilting. 1316547900_happy-animals-abc-6

Catching Up On 2016

Today is a New Year, but I am still catching up on 2016. Christmas is yet to go down. Since the family has left I have read, washed towels, read, washed sheets, read, vacuumed, read, made beds, read, cleaned up the left over food in three refrigerators, and did I mention that I have done a lot of reading?

Hexi potholder

Hexi potholder

Before Christmas I sent a few items to the families. Mainly potholders that I had cut out a couple years ago.  I really did some cleaning in the Christmas fabric suitcase.

Carolyn's Gingerbread potholder

Carolyn’s Gingerbread potholder

Friend Carolyn did a lot more work on her potholders.

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I had purchased a kit for Santa and Mrs. Santa towels a few years ago at the Quilt Block. They were made and have gone to the family that still has Santa believers.

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Last year (or some year) my group acquired the pattern for the Mug Mats and Linda got a couple done.

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Joyce got busy and quilted a project we did at another Christmas gathering.  She did a great job, but confessed that she really does not like the project.  How is that for a “Get-r-Done” attitude?

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Years ago I purchased a crib quilt top at our guild fund raiser. It has hung nicely in a closet since then. I finally realized that if I added another border(black with colored dots), it would be large enough for a lap quilt. I have a 9 year old grand who loves any pond creature. He also loves the furry fleece that is not as popular as the regular fleece. (probably because it is more expensive and you cannot leave the edges raw.)   If I backed the quilt with the furry stuff it would be a win-win gift. I should clarify that I am a piecer, not much of a machine appliqué person, and not a machine quilter. This project was a skill stretcher.  The frogs had all been ironed on but needed to be machine appliquéd in place.  I did so to the inner parts of the frogs.  But the outside of the frogs I machine appliquéd with the backing in place.  That way they would pop-out more and I did not have to repeat the stitching around the creatures.

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I had heard that it was wise to add a batting of plain muslin when doing a fleece backing. I did not do the wise thing.  In the above picture it appears that I had a tension issue and black bobbin thread is showing. Not so. I used a thin bobbin thread.  What you are seeing is fur coming up with each stitch. Re-afirming the concept of no batting with a fleece back, but add a pre-washed muslin layer to prevent shadows and fleece wanting a front showing.

A couple granddaughters received picnic/beach blankets.  I will have to find a picture of them.

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Now that Christmas is over us Iowans can expect a couple months of snow.  The above is the wool-work project I prepped so I would have some hand stitching to do.  It is getting close to finished!

Happy New Year to you.  Once I heard it was good luck to start a new quilt on January 1.  I have a box I placed on a shelf when we moved ten years ago.  It is yet to come off the shelf. I think I am going to get it out and hope I at least added a picture of what I was thinking of.

 

Show Time at the Iowa Museum

The Iowa Quilt Museum opened a new exhibit as we moved into October.  It is a fun one as it’s focus is the all time favorite of quilters: STARS.  Not all quilters like to make stars but everyone likes them in quilts.

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Wow did some ladies like to add the sparkle of color to their quilts.

The above  one is dated 1890.  Have you ever heard, “Old quilts are so drab.”?

Here are some more drab color combinations from the same time period.

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The fun thing about this quilt is that only one of the nine blocks is pieced correctly.  It happens to be Quilt Week in Des Moines Iowa with AQS in town.  This fun quilt would not have earned a ribbon at a show, but it is still a winner and has been preserved longer than mine will probably be.

The curator for this show, Virginia Berger, reproduced a smaller version correctly for the American Quilt Study Group a few years ago.

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The one below comes from 1930.  Pink has gone in and out of quilt styles.  It really faded out about 1890 -1920.

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This one really accomplished a quilter’s desire:  first you admire it from a distance and then you are drawn up close to enjoy the details.  Pink was definitely a 20s-40s thing.  but this quilter must have had some darks from earlier times.  And she used them wisely.

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What I like about this museum is that it provides for a lesson through time.  It even appreciates us who like to reproduce quilts from the past.  The one below was  done by Liz Porter.

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The pattern for this quilt was available in Fons and Porter magazine.

The Iowa Quilt Museum also appreciates the quilt patterns being created today.  The next photo is a pattern designed by  Barbara Cline in Simply Triangles.  I pieced it a few years ago.

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I thought that I was so cleaver to flow the stars into the side borders.  It was not that way in the pattern.   Isn’t that a new idea?

WRONG

The last quilt I am sharing was made in 1930.  That is 90 years ago!

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You will be able to see these and many more if you make the trip to Winterset, Iowa.  Fall is a great time to drive the winding roads that way.  Plus Winterset also hosts the John Wayne Museum.  And the Covered  Bridge Festival this this coming week-end.

 

 

Get it done! It’s Show Time

AQS is coming to Des Moines this week! Des Moines Area Quilt Guild also has their show as part of the festivities in the same location in downtown
Des Moines, Iowa.

I was the first to drop off their quilts for the local show. It was not because I am so punctual, rather because I was leaving town to watch grandsons play soccer.

I found myself doing my own “quilting” on a wall quilt. Do the rest of you use spray adhesive? Do you protect the area around the project?

layering for quilting

layering for quilting

It had been a long time since I had done any quilting. I went with straight lines and a walking foot.

My attempt at doing quilting

My attempt at doing quilting

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Meanwhile my new BFF went beyond the call of duty to have this done in time.  When it was 3/4 done her machine started giving her trouble.  It went in for repairs.  When that did not solve all the issues, she picked up a new part at 6:30 in the morning. How many of us retired people are out of our PJ’s at that time of day?

The back side of my quilt

The back side of my quilt

She really did a great job. I hope it keeps the eye focused on the quilting and not my points. I had all the point strips finished before I started assembling the quilt. That is when I discovered they did not join neatly.  I decided there was a pattern error. Alas, as I got out the pattern, Crazy Curves Continues by Elsia Wilson, I remembered that I had drafted the point section myself. We are always learning and the next project awaits us.

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Meanwhile my small group has been getting to the finish line also. What a great show-n-tell we had the last time we gathered.

Linda's top finished

Linda’s top finished

Linda had taken this class years ago at the Adel Quilting and Dry Goods. The top in now finished!

carol's color value lesson

carol’s color value lesson

We had swapped blue strips some time ago to do this ‘oldie but goodie’ pattern by Evelyn Sloppy. Carol’s has returned from the Missouri Star quilting shop and the binding is on. “Done” is such a grand word.

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Joyce's projects

Joyce’s projects

At our December gathering we often begin a Christmas project. They rarely get finished for that Christmas. But Joyce is getting caught up on hers. She does her own quilting on her domestic machine. She was getting our input on how to finish the stars.

How to border?

How to border?

This quilt also was one of our swaps. We had done HST the paper way, which is ideal when doing a swap.  It helps having all HST identical is size. This is an Edyta Sitar Pattern. The question now was how to border.

Sherry was the first to have her Curved Seams quilt totally finished!

Sherry's quilt finished

Sherry’s quilt finished

The leader did not even have hers back from the quilter.  We all have the same book, but we each selected which pattern we would do.  It is so fun to see the results.  I had made up goal sheets for this project.  Each gal determined at what date the quilt would be ready to go to the quilter.  They then worked backwards to determine what had to be completed each week.

If they came to the next gathering current on their goals they received a kit to build a house.  At our next gathering they will be planning their village as we are ready to move on to another project.

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Back from the Long Arm Magician

A UFO back from the quilter

A UFO back from the quilter

This quilt was started several years ago and then went into hibernation until last fall when it went along to a retreat, where the blocks were pieced incorrectly repeatedly.  After some time with the seam ripper, determination set in. This one was for my bed. It has tried out its final destination and has moved back to the sewing room to be bound.

Meanwhile my friends are working on curved seams. Carol has hers finished:

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Donna is getting close to finished:

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Joyce is getting closer:

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Joyce did this exactly as instructed in the book, but as I look at it I wonder if there was an easier way. She had to be so careful getting her seams matched to make perfect circles. Could she have just appliquéd, by machine or by hand, the circles in place?

Others are making progress, but I did not get pictures of their efforts.

Of course, most of us have more than one project in the works. This one was shown and snowballs always give the illusion of curved seams. This would be the perfect size as a throw pillow cover:

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There are some in the quilt world who consider red a neutral and it works perfect here.

This quilt uses the snowball pattern very uniquely.

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Carol bought it as a kit while traveling in Texas. She and I also discovered (like Dorthy) there is no place like home.  Iowa has an abundance of quilt shops but we still like to look for them when traveling.

Sharon likes to have baby quilts on hand ready to be given as gifts:

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Sherry made this one patch where the fabric does all the work.  I think she said her sister sets up at a Farmers Market.

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My current other project was a “Quilt-As-You-Go” that I started a few years ago. My original goal was one block each week or so.  Somewhere along the way it got side stepped.  When I got it out and did the last two blocks I realized that I had been getting rather good at it, but I was back to square one in my machine quilting skill.  Now I stayed on task and also did the borders.

The technique comes from the book Cotton Theory from a gal in Wisconsin.

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Sewing the blocks together went rather smooth, but when it came to assembling the rows, things deteriorated. This is when one thinks ‘I will give this to a non-quilter as they don’t know the difference.’

At this rate I might as well do all the binding by machine. You might like to try it.  First attach the binding to the back, so you have better control as to how the front will finish.  Use a walking foot and a stiletto. Or if you cannot find your, use a dull seam ripper.

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I do take the time to tack the corners so they will go smoothly through the machine.

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For this binding I cut the fabric on the bias as I thought the stripes would do well that way, but I may have stretched it as the quilt doesn’t lay perfectly flat now.

I am just happy it is done and I am moving to something that has yet to go wrong.

Iowa Quilt Museum

Winterset, IA

Winterset, IA

Iowa now has it’s own quilt museum with thanks to Marianna Fons, the city of Winterset and many others. The building is right on the town square and in between two quilt shops. What more could you want?

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The first exhibit is Red and White and what a great choice as these two color quilts are always so striking.

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My friend, Virginia Berger, is a co-curator for this first exhibit.  The below photo is that of a Sunflower Variation. c 1945- 1955.

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It is well worth the drive and the small admission fee. The building at one time was a

J C Penny store and much of the charm, like a tin paneled ceiling, is still intact.

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The below quilt is a Melon Patch Variation made in 1901.  It was one of my favorites at museum.

There are fun coffee and lunch spots also in this rural town. It is the original home of Love of Quilting. What quilter is not familiar with this magazine?

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This next quilt is for all the current rage for “hexies”.

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And for those who like “modern quilts” how about this one?  This baseball or Drunken Path Variation was made about 1880s-1890s as a wedding gift.

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A quilt I own is also in the display.  I purchased the hand pieced quilt top at an antique show.  I hired the Methodist church ladies of Anita, IA to hand quilt it.  I did do all the marking and the binding.  I rounded the corners as the fabric there was fraying badly.  By seeing it at the exhibit I learned that the pattern is a Single Wedding Ring.  There are a couple stains on the quilt, but I am afraid to wash it as red likes to travel to the while in old quilts.

IMG_3666The Feathered Star quilt below is the oldest quilt of the exhibit.  1849 is stitched right onto the front of the quilt.  Why are we hesitant to put our name and date on our quilts?  We love it when we find some information with quilts.  This one traveled from the east coast just for this exhibit.

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This last quilt I am sharing is so special as the story of the quilt is documented.  A man of rural Iowa appeared as a clown in local and nearby towns for their various celebrations.  Then he got married.  When the wife became pregnant, she cut up the clown outfit and said, “No more clowning around.”  The fabric was placed in the red and white quilt in 1922.  How fun is that!  I am sure the Pinwheel Quilt will stay in this family for many more generations.  What a reminder to all of us to put the story with the quilt.

 

Curved Seams

Most of us quilters were at one time clothes makers. We put sleeves in garments. We sewed collars onto blouses and dresses. We did curved seams. But have never thought of curved seams in quilts. My small groups current project is curved seams. We are all working from the same book, but each one picked their own pattern.

Joyce''s curved seams

Joyce”s curved seams

This retired teacher printed up worksheets for the gals to plan their project. They first set a goal as to when the quilt would be finished and ready to go to a long arm. These ranged from 3 -12 months. Once the date was set they determined how many weeks that included.

Sharon's curved seams

Sharon’s curved seams

They were to subtract one week for adding any border and doing the final border. Subtract another week for sewing the blocks together. Looking at the pattern they were to determine how many blocks they would need to make. Divide that number by how many weeks were left. Now they had a goal set for each week.

Sherry's curved seams

Sherry’s curved seams

Some only had to make one block each week while others many and that was fine as it was their own goal.

As it has turned out each one has met their goal each month as we have gathered or they are ahead of schedule.

If they were on target with their goal each time we gathered they each received a few more pieces of fabric to build a house. This is where we currently are on home building:

reward houses

reward houses

Meanwhile, I have set some goals for this year. I am to make two quilts that use up patterns that have been chosen and fabric that has been purchased over the years. I have a number (to embarrassed to share how many) project plans packed in those neat totes.

Marge's goal project

Marge’s goal project

The panels of fake appliqué are reproductions of a quilt someone found a number of years ago. I had seen the original so bought the panels when they arrived on the market.

I should also confess that I am like many other quilters. I read the pattern instructions, but focused on the pictures and missed a step of borders. I now have to adapt the project each step of the way. It all becomes a numbers game. I now have to see if the parts will fit together.

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As for the HST, I did the math. I took the total number needed and divided it by the number of fabrics I had chosen to use. Then I cut the paper sheets accordingly. It worked well as a mundane sewing time to go with mundane moods.

May your sewing include the mundane and a balance of exciting to match where our brain is working.

sewin theraphist

Spring Has Arrived in Iowa! Yea!

Spring calving

Spring calving

For my husband spring (starting in late February) is calving.

Spring does not start that early for me. I like to think of Easter as the beginning of spring. I made a table topper to honor the event.

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Another sign of spring is the wildlife on the move.

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This one passed my window during morning coffee.

My quilting friends found winter a productive time for piecing. Here are many of their protects:

This first one is fun as you let the stripped fabric do all the work for you!

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This quilt came from a quilt show where various vendors offered block kits for Quilts of Valor.

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Sherry did the below quilt from scraps from another oriental fabric collection quilt.  The darks and lights are reversed on this one.  It now covers her bed.  And her husband said he liked it!

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show-n-tell at small group

show-n-tell at small group

I had given the gals the pattern for Jacob’s Ladder which is a great scrap user. Here is some of their progress:

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Linda got out a UFO from a Jo Morton class and finished it up.

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Linda also cheered herself up on a dreary winter day by making this very small quilt. She used all vintage fabric.

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Carolyn did some beautiful hand embroidery to trim out this quilt.

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Our current project together is curved seams. As the leader of our group, I thought I should struggle with the concept first. Mine has moved on to the quilter.

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I only captured a few of the beginnings of the groups projects. You will see more later as the leader had them list goals for each month on this project. Everyone reached their goal on month one.

The first one was all made with vintage fabric.  Some of which was feed sack fabric.  The advantage of the low thread count helped make the seams fit well!

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curved seams

curved seams

It will be fun to watch these projects progress.

May you enjoy being outside again now that spring is here, while still catching  a few moments to sew!

January In Iowa

After a major snow

After a major snow

Welcome to Iowa. In January it means snow and lot of it. A couple of my grandson’s had a fun time in it.  I do not.  I have a long driveway which has a hill and a couple curves. Of course stranded at home can have some real positives; undisturbed sewing time.  I can do it in my PJ’s as no one will be coming to my door.

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In an election year, January in Iowa means politics.  It is always a meaningful event to attend ones caucus.  I always appreciate my country and its freedom when I participate.

What I want to share today is a couple quilt projects “Go’ng to the Quilter”. (think of the tune of Going to the Chapel)  The first quilt is not mine.

Mary Martin's Blue Ribbon Quilt

Mary Martin’s Blue Ribbon Quilt

This was an entry in the Des Moines Area Quilt Show by Mary Martin.  It earned a blue ribbon and my attention.  “I want to do something like this.”  I actually shopped at the show’s venders with that in mind.

A quilt for the newest grandson

A quilt for the newest grandson

January provided the stay at home time to play with the concept. I ran out of letters and characters so that I could not do it quite as centered as Mary’s.  I also had to be realistic to make it baby size. It was fun to play with the block planning on quiet days in January.

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My guess is that I am not the only quilter who accidentally discovers UFOs when hunting for something else.  When I discovered this in a closet, I could not recall it at all.  It was shorter than it is now as you see it. It was about the size of a baby quilt, but it isn’t baby style.  What was I thinking?  I went to the brown fabric box.  Could I find more of the two brown fabrics? Yes!  I had to do a little piecing of the triangles, but I was able to put together enough to make it my ‘snuggle on the sofa’ size.

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Then I faintly remembered some border fabric that had some cheddar in the color way, and I did some more hunting. There was not enough to do miter corners and I really didn’t want to try to get the paisleys in the right spots.  Making cornerstones took about as much time, but they didn’t take as much brain power as mitering does.

I should mention that it is a scrap quilt and I try to make one each year.  Do I have 2016 covered?  Or should it be a past year’s?

If you do go out in Iowa in January you better dress warm. My small group made these scarves at our Christmas party. I happen to wear mine at the fabric shop where I had bought the fake fur.   Two clerks asked me if I had made it and wanted to know how! How fun!

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Now it is February and I can foresee another month of a lot of sewing. Yea!

I So want to be Sewing

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However this is what I am doing:

 

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I am washing Nick-Knacks.  How boring.  Every Nick-Knack and a lot of wall pictures come down for Christmas decorations.  I love the festive look, but the tear down is not fun.

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I know I make it more work than is should be, because it is when I do Spring/Fall Cleaning.  Do you remember those days in your past life.  I was a good farm wife.  The whole house got scrubbed twice a year.

 

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Now it never all gets done, but a lot happens in January after Christmas gets all packed up.  Every nick-knack, or should I say “Collection” as to sound less junky, gets a good washing.  All wood furniture gets a good lemon  oil treatment.  Every picture frame also gets a clean up.  It really looks nice when it is all done.  But it takes so much longer than it did 20 years ago.

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It could be worse as I remember my childhood and the storm window/ screen switch.  I had five brothers so at least one of them had to help.  There was a lot of scrubbing taking place twice a year.  In fact when we were first married we did this.  Thankfully windows gradually got replaced in the old farm house.

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My mom told stories about the spring wallpapering.  The old furnaces produced enough smoke that a lot of wallpaper was replaced each spring.  Actually it was just covered up as they did not strip off the old paper.  I learned this lesson in the old farm house as I once started tearing off wallpaper and plaster came with it.  You just added another layer and it helped with the insulation issue.

I have shared this all to make myself thankful that housekeeping has really become easier over time.  It also has been a great procrastination as I still have work to do in our lower level.

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This is were my large design wall is and I covered it with red and white quilts for Christmas.  You might also notice some Nativity flannel graph on the wall.  I get it out for the grands to play Sunday School while here. I add this picture so this quilt blog will have a few quits in the post.

Now I get to go into my sewing room!  I have pillow cases to iron as I finish up cleaning up the guest rooms.

May you enjoy some sewing moments this winter.