Monday, February 8, 2021


 Hello!!  How are you doing?

We seem to be finally having a bit of winter here in Northeast Ohio.  There is snow on the ground with more coming and it's cold enough that it's staying.  All the small lakes are frozen over and Lake Erie is freezing up, too.  We've even had some February sunshine -- not a typical part of winter here on the south shore of Lake Erie.

And I've been able to build up some momentum working on quilting up that pile of tops.  Last week I finished this little 30's version of my Mississippi Mud pattern.  I know lots of you have bought this pattern from me so I decided to try a new to me quilting strategy for this one and I'm quite pleased with the outcome.

It was a simple process of stitching point to point arcs from one edge of the quilt to the opposite edge doing a separate pass down the right side of the seams and then down the left side.  I'm always reluctant to mask the stars with the quilting and while this idea does that to some extent, I'm okay with it!
And there's a lot to be said for a finished quilt!!
And look at this cute print I've been sitting on forever -- there was enough for the backing and a little leftover to play with another day.  I'm determined to use up all the beautiful prints in my stash instead of leaving them for the big yard sale.
I took a short break from machine quilting to put together a simple little piece using some perhaps 125 year old hand pieced quilt blocks that a friend passed off to me last month rather than shove them onto the shelf where all the antique treasures live.
After looking at them on the design wall for a couple weeks, I decided they would need to be trimmed in order to set them together easily.  That's always a hard decision for me, but it was trim them and use them or put them on a shelf for another 10 years.
As I worked with the blocks, I realized these were perhaps pieced by my friend's grandmother as her mother taught her to stitch.  Grandma Saffron grew up to be an excellent seamstress and although her skills didn't move down the family line any further, the memory of the things she made for them is special.
The finished result is a simple little tabletopper with no batting, lined with a vintage piece of fabric.  It tells a story of a mother teaching her daughter a life skill using bits and pieces of leftover garment fabrics that would have been familiar to her as a woman.  The fact that she saved them for so many years (she died in her late 80's) speaks to their meaningfulness to her.
And now my friend will be reminded of a beloved grandmother daily.
It was time to layer up #4!  My choice of the next quilt top was spontaneous and influenced by all the "arcing" on the Mississippi Mud.  I'm sure you notice when you are quilting that it's always better by the end of the project, so while the arcing was flowing, it made sense to keep it going.
This 8-pointed star was pieced from a jelly roll using Marti Michell's Stripper Template Set which contains an assortment of templates sized for 2 1/2" strips.  These blocks were demonstration blocks for my Set-In Piecing Simplified workshops and set together with leftover strips from the jelly roll, so the sashing and cornerstones are random! Fun, fun, fun!!

And look at the backing!?!  This print has been on the shelf for at least 15 years and I could never cut into it even though I had "a plan".  It wasn't quite long enough so I cut the bands apart and inserted strips of the polka dot.  There was scarcely enough polka dot so it needed to be stretched with the bands of bright prints.  So at last, I got to use this print myself!!

I expect to finish this quilt by the end of the week (keeping it simple is the key) putting me around the 20% mark towards my goal.  Almost every evening finds me hand quilting for an hour or so on the big dodecagon quilt -- steady progress there, too!!!

I'm feeling confidently cocky at this point but maintaining the momentum to reach big goals is always a challenge.  I'm sure you've experienced being puzzled about why it took so long to get around to something when it was such an easy task once you tackled it.  So in truth, I'll be happy with any progress made this year!

I'll leave you with a picture of a special place and a special bird nearby.  A local farmer has planted and left standing about 20 rows of sunflowers down the middle of a large crop field.  And he's gone one step further and welcomes birders to wander in the field during the winter months.

Generous man!!!  

So my daughter (who I raised to bird with me) and I stood in the middle of this field Saturday morning and watched several hundred common redpolls and American goldfinch swoop in and out of the field.  The longer we stood, the closer they came!


Here's to all of us finishing something this week!!


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