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Mitten String

When I was a child, winter seemed to come with more snow. I love snow.

How many of you go to pull out your gloves, or your child’s gloves to come up with two left (or right) hands!  I even tried to buy multiple pairs of the same kind just so that when needed we could find one matching pair.  Alas.  I was a failure.  We still rarely come up with a pair.

My mom was one smart lady.  Mittens with no front or back can be either a left or a right hand.  Then, to prevent the inevitable loss of mittens on the playground, in a snow pile, lost at a friend’s, or carried off by the sock monster, she attached strings to them and put them through the coat sleeves.  We HATED it, but in hindsight, it worked!!

In honor of my mom’s solution, (which has of course been deemed a hazard by today’s standards – Can you believe any of us survive to become parents!) I give you MITTENS, by Lori Holt.

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True to my task, I used a mix of vintage stash and new stash in the block.  I also added some sashing to size it up for use in my Farm Girl Vintage quilt.   The Mittens pattern is part of the book, “Quilty Fun”.    Lori has a fun behind the scenes trailer about the inspiration behind the book of patterns on You Tube.

If you make a full row, then you use a mixture of left and right hand facing mittens.  However, if you only make a block, you can just pick your favorite hand!  I picked the one best for a snowball fight!

LET IT SNOW!

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Of Peas (and Carrots)

Did you know that if you google (yes, I’m using it as a verb…) “Peas and Carrots Poem”, you get about 352,000 results?   I’m not even sure how many page loads one would have to endure to get to the one that was at the bottom of the list.

The first page of the search results in a plethora of poetry and I was surprised to see that most of them were about love!  I guess I never paid much attention to the pairing in the past, and certainly didn’t think that the next block I chose to make from Farmgirl vintage was a thing you could find in the “Urban Dictionary”!  However,  if it means “goes well together”, then it is aptly named!   I really love this block and had fun pulling the perfect shades from my stash.

 

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Farmgirl Vintage: Peas and Carrots

 

I think I should design a quilt block called “Pickles and Ice Cream”?   As long as you eat the pickle first, the ice cream might still work out!

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Winter Stargazing

Stargazing in winter might seem ideal as you have more uninterrupted viewing hours.  However, shivering in a Kansas field doesn’t sound like best way to take in the stars.  I prefer to quilt! At least that hobby keeps us warm in the 60 degree winters…

Was anyone else part of the warm spell last week?  My kids were running around outside in sweatshirts complaining that they were hot.  Sigh.  It didn’t stay warm, so they are back inside, bouncing off the walls and each other.  We had to declare a moment of silence this evening for our sanity.

Last weekend was so productive!  Since the kids were enjoying an unseasonably warm day and my husband was working on a project, I was able to quilt.
(Pepper helped.)
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Making up for lost time I managed to longarm a Minecraft quilt for the school auction, create a log cabin paper piece pattern for my friend, and finish a few small blocks and projects.  I’m saving some of the other projects for later posts, so no pics, but you can see the Winter Star block from the Farmgirl Vintage book.

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One thing great about the Farmgirl patterns is that you rarely work with bias.  Take the star point for instance.  Instead of cutting parallelogram pieces on the bias, you start with a rectangle and sew two squares on, similar to creating quick half square triangles.    The bias is never exposed, so your block stays nice and squared up.   I love this!

If you only sew the desired line, you end up with triangle waste on each end.  However, if you are tricky you could create smaller half square triangle blocks for your next scrappy quilt by making a second seam line 1/2″ away from the first, and trim between the two stitch lines.  I really should do this more often!  They might be handy in scrappy or mini quilts.

I said no pictures, but I’d better share this mini that I finished from a BOM club my Mom has gifted me.  🙂  Prairie Point Quilt and Fabric Shop has a fun Tiny Dresden BOM program that started this month.  The pattern is for hand applique dresden with embroidered sayings.  Of course, I love my machines, so tried to figure out how to beautifully finish this mini using a scanner, custom digitizing and embroidery, and longarm quilting. Alas, the buttons were too small, so I had to hand stitch those on!   In February, I will give a run down on how my experiment worked and what I would do differently next time.

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Jack Pumpkinhead

Well folks, just in time for Halloween tricks or treats, my husband and I (let’s call him Jack Pumpkinhead) took our kids out to Powell Pumpkin Patch to hunt a couple of “perfect” Jack O Lantern pumpkins for carving.   Now why, do you say, are you calling your husband Jack Pumkinhead?

Jack Pumpkinhead was a fictional character from the second OZ book called “The Marvelous Land of Oz”, by L. Frank Baum.   He was incredible tall and skinny and was not known for his intelligence…  Sometimes even a genious can resemble a fictional character.

So, here’s the laugh.  Today, when I said that I was going to pick up some pie pumpkins to make some “from scratch” pumpkin pies, Jack Pumpkinhead piped up and said… I’ll just go get one at the grocery store…    Sigh.  What man says this when his wife just said she would bake some homemade pies?

So, even if he momentarily resembled a character lacking a brain, I’m sure that I might have resembled one of the other characters, Mombi… the wicked witch of the North.  I’m sorry I was so peeved.  I guess making that pie (after all) is an apology of sorts.  I’d put a picture here, but before I could snap one, one of my kids (who understand the value of a homemade pie) snuck in and tasted part of the center! So…no picture.

I did snap a picture of my Farm Girl Vintage patchwork pumpkin.  Believe it or not, orange was the only color I am completely lacking from grandma’s stash.  It still turned out cute using more modern fabrics.  She has a version with a jack-lantern face on her website, but I found something else in my stash that worked perfect!  Jack-O-Lantern buttons! Appliqué would work great too!

Meet Jack! He’ll make a perfect October edition to my quilt.

Trick or Treat? 

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A Little Hen and Baking Bread

As a child (and as an adult) I was completely spoiled.  My mother loves to read, and encouraged us to read too.  For as long as I can remember we essentially had our own library of story books at our disposal.  Granted, that was easier than trying to return books to the library, but it also worked out better with a houseful of kids!

One set of books was the little golden books.  Remember the shiny golden binding with colorful pictures and classic stories?  One such book was The Little RED HEN, a Russian folktale published in the United states for the masses since 1940.

So, what do red hens and golden books have to do with quilting and baking?  Well, books have bindings, just like quilts, and this book had a little red hen, not dissimilar from the Mama Hen block I have made for my Farmgirl Vintage quilt!

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I had to include a piece of the new chicken and egg fabric I found during my recent retreat to MSQC. It spoke to me. The print was a little larger than I had intended, but was fun to piece with the perfectly mottled mini flower fabric from Grandma’s stash.

Last weekend I took my daughter to a cooking class at the Culinary Center of Kansas City.  While I was there, I took a class too, on baking layer cinnamon bread and chocolate babka. Lessons in work ethic and personal initiative aside, it is probably a bad idea to take a tasty bread baking class while trying to stay on a low carb diet.   (Yes, I failed.  I ate the bread… just one, or two slices.)

To make up for my failing of baking homemade bread on a Saturday, I finished the day by starting  the binding on my Minecraft quilt.  img_9344No laziness here.  Stay tuned.  It will be “Epic”. For now, it is still piled on my living room tables until I can “mine” at night.

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Patched Strawberry

I finished this block from Farm Girl Vintage on the last day of June.  (Do you believe me?)  Call it a late harvest.

One of my childhood memories is Dad’s garden.  He always tilled and fertilized, seeded and watered.  We loved helping plant seeds, but I especially liked picking strawberries with Mom and Dad.  We would bring in the small ripe strawberries (The ones that we didn’t  eat right off the plant) and rinse them in our stainless steel sink full of water.   They smelled almost as good as they tasted.  Strawberry shortcakes and on ice cream were the best!  I don’t remember how many years we kept our small strawberry patch.   Eventually we didn’t have it anymore.  The story goes that dad become allergic to strawberries, even the artificial ones…   Too much of a good thing?

This patched strawberry is the only harvest I had this year.  I pieced it from 2 1/2″ squares cut from my grandma’s stash… again.  I love that I am able to carry fabric elements from her stash across so many quilts.  This strawberry is pink, so not completely ripe.  It was fun to scavenge the fabrics, so I might have to make another one in reds.

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My secret for managing small scraps of fabrics is my Sizzix Bigz dies.  I have basic squares in several sizes. It allows me to select scraps and then stack them to cut squares for my patterns all at once.  I can cut 6 – 8 layers at a time with the die.  Sometimes I have to trim a few strings that didn’t finish cutting, but it is faster than rotary or scissor cutting them individually.  I think, if I starched the scraps, they would cut more smoothly.

This block would be great in a table runner or top.  It might even be fun to change-up the colors to show a strawberry ripening, white / light green, pink, then vibrant red.. The only think we are missing is the dark green leaves and white flowers of the plant.  That would make a good quilting design!

My block for July will be the patriotic flag.  My stash of reds is not very big, so I might be adding some new fabrics that I picked up on my weekend road trip to Hamilton Missouri and MSQC with my mom!  It was a great way to spend a rainy day.  We shopped every quilt store, picked up some souvenir quilt T-shirts, fabric for projects, picked up our first Row-by-Row for the year, and ate at the local restaurant called “Blue Sage”.  I was surprised to see that a new bed and breakfast, Home Inn Hamilton,  opened up there too.   It might be a another great place to arrange unofficial retreats with some of my new quilting friends!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sow and Sew

April and May have been real.  Real Busy, Real Life.  Low and High.
(Do you mind if I babble?)

The snow missed me this year, but I am digging myself out nonetheless.  The spring has brought birthday parties, work travel, outrageous taxes, home improvement, school events, contests, awards, death, and new life.   Would you believe me if I told you it all happened in that order?

In one more week, the current school session ends and summer begins.  What better way to celebrate life’s constant skirmish than to sow and sew?

I am a month “behind” in my personal block of the month club.  I have finished my next sister blocks, which I will write a separate blog on later.  I did get my hands dirty and planted some tomatoes, hot peppers, strawberries, and herbs in my garden.  With unseasonably warm weather, I even planted them before Mother’s day, which is akin to playing Russian roulette with mother nature.   I won! (so far)

Since I am a month behind with the quilting, I will write it off as a loss and move on.

In light of planting my garden and tending my flowers, my block from Lori Holt’s Farm Girl Vintage patterns this May is “Crops”.

As I mentioned before (I think), one of my goals with this quilt is to construct it from my stash, most of which was gifted to me by my Grandmother.  I almost broke down and bought fabric this month.  The biggest challenge in my stash is finding large enough pieces with small prints.  Much of her stash was cut into smaller pieces.  I wonder if this was because smaller pieces were easier to use with hand piecing?  I digress.

In the end, I held strong and supplemented Grandma’s stash with some of my own, a scrap from a project I made for my Sister, probably some fabric that was passed between my Mother and my Grandmother, and some pieces of my own that didn’t have a plan yet.

The block is simple to create with half square triangles, tipped with smaller triangles, then sashed.  It was almost therapeutic.  Note: The pattern wastes fabric after trimming.  The half square triangles are created with squares of every fabric.  I have sewn and saved them for later, but am not sure if they will be handy in the other blocks in the pattern.

My block is finished.  I really need to get my behind out in the sunshine to sow some more seeds and prepare my garden for some delightful fresh ingredients this summer.

I mentioned death.  One of my Grandmother’s passed away this month.   At her memorial service, we were asked to think of a memory to remind us of her.  One thing we had in common was flowers and plants.  She loved sharing with me the flowers in bloom and the critters that would visit her back patio and garden.  I think that I might take a break from sewing one day and see if her children would mind if I transplant some of her flowers to my yard as a memory of her.

Life’s balance is that my cousin and his wife welcomed a new baby girl to the family the same week.  (Congratulations to the new parents and grandparents!)

Happiness can be Sow and Sew.

 

 

 

 

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Tweetheart – First of a Vintage Farmgirl

My birthday came this month, and I am happy that I was able to complete all of the focus blocks of the Curve It Up Sampler.   I am still working on the sashing and will post a completion some time this year (after quilting it).

I always have something planned to fill the void.  My mother once again gifted me with a project for my birthday.  She gave me the pattern “Farm Girl Vintage” by Lori Holt.  I know that she bought this because she liked it… I will be surprised if she can hold off long enough for me to make it first! I planned to wait just to torture her, but frankly found it irresistible and started right away.

This pattern is the perfect fit for some of the older, small print, stash (gifted to me by my grandmother).  This will make the finished quilt even more special!  I don’t have the experience of growing up on a farm, but know that I would have fit in just fine… right up to  the point of mucking out a stall.  I had better stick to gardening!

The first block I selected from the collection was the Baby Chick, complete with a half and half heart.  A Tweetheart for February!

I marked the legs for embroidery using a Frixion pen.  Mark, Stitch, Press.  The marks disappear with heat.   Notice how the colored piecing goes to the edge of the block?  These blocks will definitely look best with sashing.  Otherwise, the designs would meld together in places.

After a heart for February, March will come in like a Lion. Stay tuned.  I will try to post some tips and tricks for creating a scrappy farm girl sampler out of my “vintage” fabrics.

Happy Quilting!