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We are officially done with school at our house, so we are settling into a summer schedule. Mondays are gardening day and we finished our planting this week. Wednesday is CSA day and just look at our box!

20140618-103804-38284170.jpg. It’s early in our local growing season, but that’s rhubarb, strawberries, mint, chives, early onions, lentil and bean sprouts. It’s completely different than last week salad box. The rhubarb is already chopped and in the freezer while this first round of berries will be made into jam. Herbs are used immediately or dried. Thursday will be processing day – either freezing or canning. So in addition to the normal quilting content, I’m going to share some of my favorite recipes, if for no other reason than to collect them in one place. I hate to admit how many times I have to call mom because I lost that slip of paper AGAIN. So here is the first

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
5c chopped rhubarb
4c sugar
20 oz can of crushed pineapple, drained
6 oz box strawberry jello

Combine all ingredients except jello in pan. Bring to a hard boil for 12 mins. Remove from heat and stir in jello. Ladle into hot jars and seal. OR cool and freeze. Yields 3.5 pints.

I do double batches and jar it up. I prefer not to fill the freezer with things that can be shelf stable.

I’ve also been knitting away on bandages and have the first one past the halfway point. It moves along as I use snippets of time to add a row. With only 28 stitches across, it’s pretty easy to add an inch. It does not look like I have made a dent in this ball, so hopefully I can keep going all summer and fill a mailer by Christmas.

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I have gotten in a bit of handquilting. Half of the triangle border on Celtic Solstice is done. I’m adding a petite cable to the green and cream sashing on either side, marking as I go. It will be the only stencil used on this quilt.

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I could not think of a creative title. Its been that kind of day. I’m in desperate need of Advil, but I wanted to start a blog post. This one is going to be progressive.

Friday – I have a 7 AM working meeting, so I have to wait to get the download from Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville. Its time for clue number two to Celtic Solstice. This week we are making chevrons! Its a new unit for me, but will be easy to assemble. We had “craft time” this afternoon, so the kids made paper airplanes while I cut out all my fabric. Easy squares and rectangles stacked by 20s.

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I could not resist starting a few through the machine. Against all advice, I am flying by the seat of my pants and not marking the diagonal lines. If the first 10 are terrible, I’ll mark the lines while watching tv with DH tonight. I’m undecided on keeping the bonus triangles. It would make a cute bonus block of some sort, but I need to focus on just this clue first.

Saturday afternoon – taking a few quiet minutes to sew when I should be cleaning. Ahh, peace. I have almost all my left sides sewn. They still need to be pressed and the corners trimmed off. I am still undecided on those corner units. If I am going to keep them I need to run these units through the machine two more times, or rotary cut them so they are a consistent size. If I am discarding them, I’ll snip with shears while watching tv tomorrow.

20131207-152823.jpgHere are some process photos. I am doing all my left sides in one long chain. If I orient the piece the same as the one previous, there will be no surprises at the end. White corners went on, the bring up my tail from the back of the machine and add on the yellow. My goal pace is to finish these today. Start the right sides tomorrow and have them ready for pressing by Tuesday. That will leave Wednesday and Thursday to press trim and run the center seams. Do-able?

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My big tip to make it scrappy – cut the deck. Sounds funny, but let me talk it through. If I have pile A with four fabrics, and pile B with four fabrics, then when I sew, fabric 1 from both piles will always be together. It would be like this 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4. So my tip is to sew four units, then rotate the top fabric from pile B to the bottom. Sew 4 and rotate. So the next four units would be 1-2, 2-3, 3-4, 4-1. It does not take much effort, but the quilt will have the full range of combinations

Sunday – no forward progress to show today on the mystery quilt. I do have the row attached to the grandmothers flower garden quilt and have started the next batch of flowers. I’d really like to see this one finished next year as it has been my drag around project for almost 6 years. As I put in more stitches, I have begun considering what will take its place in my purse. When I mentioned to DH that I was contemplating another flower garden, he shot me a look. You know that look.. He then declared that he has never liked this project and would prefer I don’t do another. He then encouraged me to sell it. HMMM. Where did that come from? Really??? I don’t think so. Should I even tell him I’m considering a pickle dish in 30’s reproductions? Nah.

PS I’ve started a pin board to gather design ideas on Pinterest. If anyone has a great example to share, I’d like to add it.

Monday – I’m linking up with Quiltville to show my progress. I envy those with adorable photos of finished blocks, but I’m still in the trenches. Maybe my iron will get a workout and next week will be glamourous.

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Check it off the list

With the new mystery starting in few days and a quilt top in the frame, I find myself starting the year-end UFO purge. It’s where I take stock of all the unfinished items and figure out what should see daylight again. So I started with some quick finishes.

The binding went onto this wall hanging. It’s from a class that I took at Chautauqua Institute on hand piecing like Jinny Beyer. The class focused on hand piecing technique, continuous stitching and border prints. I’ll hang this block in my studio and use it to hold show pins. Instead of a rod pocket, I inserted quick corners. Now to hit up DH for a 12″ piece of dowel from his wood shop.

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The borders went onto my Easy Street.

I tackled the mending pile.

I am doing a repair in this wall hanging that is Great-grandmother’s. I could not get a rust stain out in this corner, so I am replacing it.

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I started the early morning rise again so I can quilt before the kids wake up. I’m halfway across the 1st row of BonBons. It’s a much smaller quilt than the tee shirt one, so it is easier to see progress and use that momentum to propel it forward.

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And there is cleaning out the studio. Since I am the only one to go in, it’s the last room in the house to get tidied. If I get away, I want to craft, not clean. However, I have a local cohort who is jumping into the Celtic Solstice mystery with me (hi, Mom!), and if I want to have a sewing session in my studio, I need to make room. I can easily make three work stations plus a cutting and pressing area and not have anyone bumping elbows. My goal is to have two stations ready to go.

Speaking of which, we will probably be sewing together on “deer day”. For those not in our neck of the woods, deer hunting season opens on Dec 1, so while the men are in the woods, the women folk are getting together to visit. In the meantime, I’m headed back to the UFO pile to resurrect another forgotten project.

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I am loading the quilt frame today with the BonBon quilt.

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I decided to use the baptist fans across the whole surface. And since I am being a lazy quilter, I am going to mark it as I go. And rather than just use the frame to baste, I’ll just quilt it there. It will allow me to add row after row of fans, keep the quilt out of the main area of the house during the holiday, and get me started sooner.

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There are some things I freehand, but for this quilt I decided on a stencil. My blocks are 11.5″ and the stencil is 12″. The size difference will move the pattern across the quilt without the fuss of lining up squarely on every block. I am going to use a pounce to mark one 12″ section at a time.

If the quilt has too much play/slack when marking, the lines will not be crisp. So I place my stencil, hold a board under the quilt, then pounce against the hard surface. A small section of foam core that is easy to manipulate with one hand works well. I can place a pin or two through the quilt sandwich into the foam core to prevent the stencil from sliding. I’ll also place a pins in the registration mark and leave them in the quilt to help align the next row.

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And away we go!

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Sewing before coffee

Here is a humility post. The kids each have a new toy so while they were occupied this morning, I thought I’d throw the seam into the quilt back for BonBons. No big deal. It’s only 66″ and it will be done. Wrong.

At least I cut the lengths right, but after that is a big mishap. I had the seam halfway done when I remembered that I had not checked the print for directionality.

20131112-085423.jpg. Here is the back. And unfortunately for me, it was directional. Those red hydrangea have stems only pointing in one orientation. And I had not seamed the panels so the were both pointing South.

While I was busy with my seam ripper, another lightbulb moment hit. Those hydrangea run diagonally across the yardage and I had not left enough length to match the print across the seam. Big sigh. So now I remember why I bought the excess yardage that I just cut off.

The seam is back in and I am going to have to live with the jog. I doubt anyone else will notice, but I now have a note pinned to the fabric so it will be put into the frame right side up. That way no flowers, or quilting patterns will be standing on their heads. And before I do that job, I’ll finish my cup of coffee.

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In the news

article and sideshow here

The kids are studying early colonial America and I stumbled upon this article and sideshow from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation on historical quilts in the Williamsburg collection. I always enjoy peeking at textiles that have survived the centuries and they have some excellent examples to share.

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20131102-081351.jpgI have all the bits cut for the BonBon quilt , so I decided to sew up one block which led to another and another. I finally stopped at 14 blocks – almost three rows of the quilt. And then I kept going. The kids like removing the papers as I anticipated, so I have not had to do that step all by myself. The husband was quite dismayed when I casually dropped “the kids are busy quilting” during a phone conversation earlier today. They are happy. I am happy. 🙂

I also am starting to have packages roll into the house. I can’t get Bonnie’s mystery off my mind, so I’m in again this year. The title is Celtic Solstice and she has posted the fabric requirements on her blog. This year features two sizes – 77″ and 111″ square. I’m going with the smaller as it will most likely be adopted by one of my kids. The fabric colors are green, blue, orange and yellow plus neutral background. Last year I chose my own color way. This year I’m following along, but this is not my preferred palate. After giving ORANGE some thought (that color does not exist in my quilting life) I realized this is the perfect opportunity to do a reproduction-styled quilt. Think poison, cheddar, chrome and indigo with shirtings. Here is a taste. More will be added to the pile for variety over the next two weeks.

20131101-175916.jpg. It has taken a while to source out all the fabric as some of these colors are not as frequently reproduced as turkey, madder, chestnut etc. Now I know why quilter stash! I’m debating if I share/sell the excess due to minimum cuts, or hoard it. Hmm….I’ll considered it while I finish sewing Bonbons.

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