Friday, May 29, 2015

Farm Girl Friday SAL Week 5

I'm still a bit behind in my blocks, but as Lori Holt says, "You are the boss of your own quilt!" This is the Butter Churn block. This was my first time making "flying geese", and I was fascinated by the process. I measured wrong on two blocks and had to redo a step, but I finally got it right.

I decided to try my hand at the 6 inch size, because the 12 inch blocks are so very big. The photo above shows the difference in size. Unless I change my mind, the remainder of the blocks will be 6 inch - I really enjoyed making the smaller size!

Choosing fabrics for another simple block quilt using 5 inch squares occupied the better part of two days this week. I plan to give this one to the sweet wife of my nephew!

And on another note, according to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, the state of Texas has received 35 trillion gallons of water during the past month - enough to cover the whole state up to nearly eight inches deep. (Gah!) Our rain gauge has captured 13.40 inches since the first of May. The photo above was taken the day we received almost 4 inches. The water never got close to our house, but we did get another 3 inches the next day. Many Texas towns, including Houston, have experienced catastrophic and historic flooding. I'm sure we will be wishing for rain in the middle of summer, but for now I think we've had enough!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day 2015

I am reminded today that my parents used to refer to this day as "Decoration Day". We would travel from Bixby to Chelsea (Oklahoma) and place flowers on Granny's grave. I kind of dreaded these trips because Mom and Daddy were sad and spoke in hushed tones, but at least we would stop for cheeseburgers somewhere along the way so the trip had some merit for me.

Today I honor not only those whose lives were lost in the defense of my freedom, but also my family - Mom and Daddy and Jerry and Danny, my brothers.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Farm Girl Friday SAL Week 4

After receiving the highly anticipated Farm Girl Vintage book and reading it from cover to cover, I started pulling fabrics and eagerly began piecing my blocks.

Apron Strings

I opted for the 12 inch blocks, but now that I've started I realize how huge they are!

Autumn Star

The directions are clear and easy to follow, but I somehow managed to make the Autumn Star block a bit larger than the others.

Baby Chick

At first I tried to copy the colors in the book, but now I am simply putting together blocks that suit my fancy.

Baking Day

I'm still not caught up, but I'm having fun! Hopefully this link will work for you to see more photos of other participants' blocks.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Late to the Party - Farm Girl Friday SAL

My Farm Girl Vintage book arrived this week, and I am finally ready to join the Farm Girl Vintage Sew-Along! I pulled fabrics this afternoon and started cutting.

The SAL started on May 1, and I am five blocks behind - catching up will be fun! I've enjoyed the variety of blocks on Instagram #farmgirlfridays

As you can see, my sewing will be curtailed since Katy has chosen my table to nap away the afternoon.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Scrappy Pink and Gray Quilt

We gave my mother-in-law cash for Mother's Day since she always wants to have money in her purse. But I wanted to make her a lightweight lap quilt because she gets chilly even in the summer. She loves pink, so it was an easy choice to make her this scrappy quilt for her.

Although she would love an all-pink quilt, my stash is short on pink so I added white and gray. These fabrics are a combination of scraps and stash featuring solid soft pink, pink dotted with white, vintage florals, and white prints. The charcoal gray with soft pink flowers provided a nice contrast for squares and binding. I love the white alphabet print with gray letters and wish I had more of it!

I debated adding more stitching, but I like the simple straight lines which play up the squares. The batting specifications indicated quilting could be from 2 to 4 inches apart, and these measure 3-1/2 inches apart.

My husband suggested the quilt might look better without a border, and I'm glad I listened to him.

I cut 5 inch squares; prior to piecing, I planned the placement of each square (you can see my diagram at the bottom of the photo) and sorted them into rows. Then it was a simple matter of chain-piecing each row.

The quilt measured 45 inches x 72 inches. In retrospect I would have added a row to the width.

The backing is one of my all time favorites - a border print from Collage by Carrie Bloomston for Windham. I pieced it in order to put the birds on the bottom. In spite of my resolve to buy no fabric in 2015, I have ordered more of it.

I love the contrast of quirky to vintage prints. The colors worked well too.

Love these birdies!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Vintage Quilt Completed

 Completed vintage quilt folded for mailing to my niece in Oregon

In 2012 my niece sent me the quilt top her maternal grandmother pieced, probably in the 1960s or 1970s. All my niece knows about it is that "Grandma Hunter" intended to make all her grandkids a quilt but this is probably the only one that got started. Mrs. Hunter was a farmer's wife who raised three children, canned vegetables from her garden, and cared for chickens, cows, and farm pets, so I'm not sure how she even had time to cut fabric, much less piece a quilt.

Buddy can't figure out why there is a quilt in the "his" yard

 Pieced back

At some point in its history, someone had laundered the quilt top, and many of the blocks frayed badly on the outer edges. My first step was to repair those blocks, then I added a coordinating border and pieced backing. In retrospect I wish I had added a touch of yellow to the backing and border, but I bet my niece won't care.

 The quilt remained on the cutting board for months

After I sandwiched the quilt it sat folded up on my cutting table for many months. I normally don't have a problem with this step of the process, but this was the largest quilt I have sandwiched, there were way too many wrinkles, and I simply dreaded trying to quilt around all those wrinkles. My problem was solved when I saw a tip on the blog of Late Night Quilter. This tip involves using an acrylic quilting ruler to smooth the fabric as you adhere it to the batting. I separated the layers from the batting and re-sandwiched using my 12-inch Big Mama and 24-inch Big Daddy acrylic rulers (designed by Trudie Hughes and purchased when I first started quilting), and magic happened - the layers miraculously smoothed out!

I quilted simple wavy lines for the body of the quilt, straight lines on the border, and graduated half-squares in the corners.

Finished size was 78 inches by 92 inches.

I fell in love with the vintage fabric used in this scrappy quilt.

My favorite fabric is this black with little safety pins.

This was a true scrappy quilt. I can imagine Mrs. Hunter painstakingly cutting scraps from cast-off clothing and love how she pieced the elongated diamonds. It was such an honor to complete her quilt!

UPDATE! She loved it! She said it was gorgeous, couldn't believe how pretty it was, and that she couldn't be happier with it. She made my day.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

One Lovely Blog Award

One morning I was sleepily drinking my coffee and perusing one of my favorite blogs when I saw my name mentioned in a post. Christine of Patchwork Allsorts nominated 10 bloggers for the One Lovely Blog award, and I was one of them!

Although Christine and I have never met, she is one of the nicest people I know. She has a beautiful blog and her posts are unfailingly positive, uplifting, and inspiring. I love taking a peek into her life across the pond and imagine having tea with her while we look at her collection of craft and quilt books. Christine nominated other more worthy bloggers, and I am honored to be in their company. Be sure and check out her post to learn some very interesting details about her.

The purpose of this award is for bloggers to nominate fellow, mostly newer, bloggers that they wish to recognize. The goal is to bring attention to blogs that we think are 'lovely' and enjoy reading. Hopefully others will enjoy reading these blogs also. The nominated blogger is asked to thank the person who nominated them and link back to them in a post, share seven personal facts, and nominate 10 other bloggers for the award.

I will not be nominating any blogs, but you are invited and encouraged to click on the links to my favorite blogs in the right sidebar of this page, all of which deserve the Lovely Blog Award.

Here are seven facts about me:

1. I was born and raised in northeastern Oklahoma. The picture above is the farm my family moved to when I was 10. If you look closely you can see my pet chickens next to the barn. I lived in Oklahoma the first 29 years of my life, moved to Texas for 28 years, back to Oklahoma for seven years, and returned to Texas in 2012. The Road to Oklahoma is the name of my blog as well as a traditional quilt block and pretty much describes the journey of my life.

2. My husband and I met when we were 10, started "dating" at 14, married during our last year of college, and had our first child - a son - when we were 21. We had a daughter 5 years later. Our son and his wife, who live 6 miles from us, have our 3 grandchildren - a boy, 16, and two girls, 14 and 12. Our daughter married our son-in-law in January 2014, and they live near Dallas.

3. I have a degree in mathematics with a minor in history. My jobs have been secretary, administrative assistant, pastor's assistant, data input, office manager, and most recently I had my own catering business. Now I am officially retired.

4. I am a trained storm spotter for the National Weather Service. I have been fascinated with weather since the age of 10. The stormier it is, the happier I am. I love lightning, thunderstorms, and supercells. The picture above is a funnel I photographed from my front porch when we lived in Edmond, Oklahoma.

5. My grandmothers were both quilters, and my mother sewed until I took over her sewing machine when I was a freshman in high school. I took a hand quilting class when I was 36 but didn't get serious about it until I took a basic quilting class in 2010. Learning the entire process was so much fun, and now I can't get enough of it. The photo above is of my Mom and me in 1975 discussing how to make curtains out of sheets while my Dad looks on. I was pregnant with my daughter. Don't you love the 1970s clothes?

6. I have a dog and a cat. I am mainly a cat person and have had many sweet kitties in my life, most recently Katy, my fiesty little black cat. A neighbor found her up a tree on a busy street when she was about 6 weeks old, and I immediately adopted her. I met Buddy, a mix of bird dog, Dalmatian, and lab, in 2006 when he was a puppy at an adoption event for a rescue organization. When we walked by his cage he rolled onto his back and showed us his pink belly. I picked him up and that was that. My kids tell me that my pets have replaced them as my children.

7. My favorite pies are sour cherry (pictured above) and gooseberry. My Granny, the ultimate Pie Queen, used to make both kinds, but gooseberry was the most unique. She picked and canned her own wild gooseberries from Missouri, and the pies she made from them were mouth-watering. Although I watched her bake many times I never asked for her recipe, so I had to do a lot of tweaking until I was able to bake pies that closely resemble hers.

Thanks for taking the time to wade through all this!