November Rose

November Rose

In addition to the craziness of 2020 in general, we’ve had a more warm and sunny fall than usual. This last rose of summer bloomed at the beginning of November. I touched it when I was getting close to take a picture and it fell off, so here it is just off the bush.

November Rose

I also love how strawberry plants look when fall sets in.

This might be a good color combo for a quilt.

The other thing I just noticed is that while the geraniums and alyssum aren’t blooming anymore, the plants themselves look great. All my summer pots are a lovely shade of green. By now they’re usually looking pretty sad. But this year we have this:

I’ll take this over frostbitten and dead anytime!

I’m still working on finishing some older projects. Some of them make me wonder if I got stuck, bored or I just have the attention span of a gnat. The leaf below was started in a class a few years ago and the original plan was to make four and put them together. I wound up not being crazy about the fabrics I brought to the class which wasn’t held in a quilt shop so I was sort of stuck with what I brought. Near to the end of finishing this one, Ella chewed up the pattern and I put the project aside. This fall I decided to just bind the one leaf and call it finished.

Maybe someday I’ll redraw the leaf and do four. Or maybe not.

About three years ago I took a class on making a series of quilts from Katie Pasquini Masopust. It was four days long and each student brought a quilt as the beginning. I brought the quilt in the upper left. The other three in the first photo were made on successive days and the last day I made “The Last Leaf on the Tree.”

The Last Leaf

And then there’s this:

This one’s been around for a while, but I didn’t like the paper pieced snowman. I finally decided to just cover it with three circles of white batting and I like it much better. It’s great for January when we really need some bright colors.

My next finishing project will be a quilt I started in the early 80’s. It was from “The Quilter’s Newsletter,” and I just loved it the moment I saw it. I finished the top and started to hand quilt it. It seemed pretty overwhelming and was never finished. This year I took out the quilting and got rid of the fat polyester batting. Now it will get new batting and I’ll quilt it on the machine so it will be finished sometime before it turns 40. I still love the fabrics and would do some things differently today, but it’s a sweet memory and I want to finish it.

Here’s hoping you are all well and have a wonderful holiday season.

Candy

If the Broom Fits . . .

If the Broom Fits . . .

I love October because even if it’s cooler than I like, there’s still plenty of sun and the colors are lovely. Halloween decorations are up, Mona and Maynard are in their assigned places in the dining room and I still have to ask a neighbor with kids what the drill will be for Trick or Treating.

Mona

Maynard

Years ago, probably more than twenty, I took a class to learn to paint this.

If you like old style Halloween images, you probably recognize her. The hand and pumpkin move to hide her face. After all this time, she’s still a favorite of mine.

This year I finished the wool project below.

It’s another project that was started a few years ago and I was so close to finishing, I can’t believe it was still hanging around in the UFO pile.

Outside, the “farm” is decommissioned and we ate the last of the tomatoes in BLT’s for dinner the other night. It wasn’t our most prolific year (except for cucumbers which are always insane) and I suspect our cooler summer is somewhat to blame. However, the dahlias are still blooming!

They’re pretty tough and I love the bright color.

In the back, this little rose continues to bloom. I thought I’d killed it a couple of years ago, but it came back like a champ!

Even the geraniums are hanging in.

If, like me, you’ve found this year to be a complete goat rodeo, I hope you’re finding some peace in your quilting space. Mine is actually still pretty tidy as I find it comforting to find what I’m looking for before I lose interest. I’ve even begun decluttering my office/painting space. I now have a tidy desk and bed and will be moving on to the floor tomorrow.

I just realized how long it’s been since I’ve posted anything here. While life is back to normalish here, there are lots of places in Oregon and surrounding states where fire damage has made normal a distant memory. Two small towns just south of where I grew up really got hammered and it just breaks my heart. I can only imagine what it must be like to lose everything. Now that these fires have fallen off of the front pages please keep the victims in your prayers as it will be a long haul back.

I finally finished the top of my block of the month quilt.

Actually it was two or three blocks every month. I like the black sashing and now that I have the backing I have no excuse not to get busy quilting it. The quilting will be pretty simple as there’s quite a lot going on here. Also, it’s quite big. It was good practice for my (iffy) embroidery skills and I can now blanket stitch really quickly.

I was in Central Oregon about a month ago visiting friends and stopped at The Stitchin’ Post in Sisters. I really missed the outdoor quilt show and the week of classes leading up to it. While I was there, I bought a kit with a pattern by June Jaeger. It’s an all-fused picture of Smith’s Rock and was a bit more of a challenge than I anticipated. I’m now quilting it and will show a picture of it here next time.

It’s been a pretty, mostly sunny day here and I just got a frost advisory for tonight on my phone. I guess it really is fall. Summer just kind of got away from me and I’m not ready for holidays. Okay, I don’t actually remember a time when I was ready for the holidays. Time to buck up and get with it.

Happy Halloween to all!

Candy

It’s Always Something

It’s Always Something

My mother was right, especially this year. The west is kind of a mess right now and I find myself ready to spill online. If you want to skip a bit of whining, you are welcome to go to the next paragraph. 1) I’m pretty much over hearing ads that begin with how they feel our pain at this challenging time. I would be fine if they skipped that and went on to the usual shameless self promotion. 2) Playing tennis with a mask sucks. It’s too smokey for tennis today anyway, so never mind. 3) We’re at level 1 evacuation which basically means get you stuff together just in case. We did that yesterday and the house now looks like a goat exploded. Also, everything smells like smoke.

Sometimes it’s good to just get it out there. In actual fact, we’re in pretty good shape – the wind has stopped and we’re across the river from the bad stuff. While the sun is just a little orange ball above the smoke, it is there. Also, friends have checked in on us, which makes me feel good. The interesting thing about this is that it makes you think about what’s really important. I’m finding that photos from before the digital period are a thing and that I’d be really sad to leave 40 years of quilting and decorative painting behind. There is more help coming from out of state and on the federal level. We’re keeping evacuees and those who’ve lost everything in our prayers.

The cookie jar below was started about 20 years ago and put aside halfway finished for about 5 years. Once I got myself to just read one instruction at a time, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

The other really cool thing that happened was that the hole in the ceiling and one wall of the quilting studio got fixed and the whole room repainted. It made me get serious about thinning the herd and while there are a few things still stashed in another room, some will not make the cut to get back into the new room. Sweet Husband did all the painting.

One thing that happened as I was moving stuff and cleaning out – there are more UFO’s! I’m working on a couple, but stopped to make this little cutie:

I used the small Circle Magic template from Missouri Star and a stack of Halloween 5-inch squares. I wanted to try the technique without risking a lot of time and fabric. I think the bigger template would’ve been easier, but this little guy turned out pretty cute. It’ll look better when it’s well pressed. It was a pretty quick project, which I was really ready for.

I only have one more block to appliqué for my block of the month wool quilt. Well actually, there are four little appliqué blocks for the corners but finishing the larger blocks is a big deal. I’m only about a month behind and I’m pretty proud of that. I have the black printed fabric that goes between the blocks so the end is in sight.

I hope that this blog finds everyone home and safe. When I find out what we can all do to help after the smoke clears, I’ll pass it on with the Facebook page. Right now the news tells me that the best way to help is to stay out of the way.

Take care and stay safe,

Candy

P.S. Anybody want cucumbers? I only have one plant and it went nuts. There are only so many cukes two people can eat!

Quilt for Fun – Early Fall

Quilt for Fun – Early Fall

I think it might be almost fall.  I’ve got lots of tomatoes and squash and the weather is cooler and cloudier.  We’ve even had a bit of rain, which we happily welcomed.  I baked our traditional First Week of School cookies yesterday.  My mom used to bake these early in September either to ease the drama of a return to more structured school days or (more probably) as a celebration of peace and quiet.  I baked them for my kids for the same reasons and still do just because I can.  The good news is that they’re yummy.  The bad news is that they’re made of butter, graham cracker crumbs, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut and sweetened condensed milk.  Since they’re mostly sugar and fat, how could they not taste great?  I only make them once a year as Sweet Husband and I can chow those babies down in record time.

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In an attempt to improve my piecing skills, I bought a kit and pattern by Elizabeth Hartman called “Aviatrix.”  I don’t do kits very often but since this pattern called for 25 solid fat quarters, I decided to get to the part I really wanted to work on.  (I pretty much have the shopping part down.)  The cutting alone is quite a project.  Apparently, I’m also working on patience.  Here’s the picture of the center.  It actually went together more easily than I thought it would.  There was a minimum of ripping and swearing.  Now there are six more pieced borders.

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I went back to a helper that I thought I didn’t need anymore.  I put a small piece of moleskin on the ¼” line in front of the needle on my machine to help me stay on the straight and narrow.  It really helps a lot.  It seems to work better for me than the ¼” foot.

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I’m also finding that I like the wide foot for small pieces.  The beginnings just go more smoothly.

 

Since Labor Day isn’t until next week,  “Halloween Housing” will be available until next week.  Then it will go away for a while until the pattern that goes with it is available.  It’s a fun way to use up those cute Halloween fabrics that you didn’t want to cut up into little pieces.

Quilt for Fun

Candy

 

Catching Up

Catching Up

The last month has whizzed by, mainly because I took four plane trips and spent the time in between catching up.  I spent most of the last week in October at the International Quilt Show in Houston.  The last time I attended that show was in 2001 and again it was both inspiring and intimidating.  Also, lots of fun.  Saw old friends, made new friends and, as always, found quilters to be wonderfully friendly and helpful. There were 1200 vendors.  A person could go really nuts.  I exercised amazing self control and only bought what would fit in carry-on.

I’m pretty sure that every one of the 60,000 people expected to view the show took this picture:

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And here are a few of my other favorites:

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“Fire Chief Rain Boots”  Cheryl Culver, Portland, OR

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“Straight From the Horse’s Mouth”  Cindy Garcia, Racine, WI

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“Royal Thistle”  Helena Scheffer & Marion Perrault, Beaconsfield, Quebec, Canada

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“Waratah”  Melinda Bula, Eldorado Hills, CA

Loved ’em all!

It’s a totally gorgeous day — autumn on the cusp of an early winter.  It’s supposed to freeze tonight, which is early for the Willamette Valley.  There are still lots of leaves on the trees, making it hard to get into getting ready for Christmas.  Since sunshine makes me energetic, I actually created some neatness in my little office.  Even the dogs seem a little shocked.

I’m ready to be home for a while, working on the website and quilting.  And with the growing season being over, and a chilly wind blowing, outside is not so tempting.  Time to snuggle in and get some stuff done.

There’s just the last dahlia of summer, basking in the sun.

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Quilt for fun

Candy

It’s a Website!

It’s a Website!

Our website, mob quilts.com, is now up and running.  Thank you to Laura at Mosaikweb.com for all her work designing and setting up the site.  We love the new look.

Some of us are into instant gratification.  As in, “That looks cool; I want to have it now.”  There’s also the idea of trying to be kinder to our little blue planet.  As in, “Do I really want more paper to store or file or recycle?”   With this in mind each of our patterns is (or soon will be) available as a PDF.  Many are already good to go.  A few of the older ones are fighting back, but I’ll get them done as soon as I can.

 

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For some reason, Citrus Salad is being particularly feisty.  I dream of a day when all my electronic minions learn to work together.

Barb and I also want this site to be responsive to what you, as quilters, are looking for.  All your input is welcome.  Even though there are lots of guilds and quilt groups and friendly quilt shops, quilting can still be a solitary undertaking.  We’d like to offer friendship and support to all quilters who come to our site both because it sounds fun and because the quilting community has been good to us.

I love that we’re launching in October.  It’s pretty much my favorite month.  Tomorrow is the day I’ve appointed to put out my Halloween decorations.  It’s a time when it’s socially acceptable to be a little “out there” and I really love that.  In honor of that, our first pattern, Colors of Fall, is on special this month.  It’s pretty quick and easy to make and we hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

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One of the things I like about this one is that it’s appropriate from September through November.  As much as I love my Halloween quilts, hanging them up in the house before or after October kind of creeps people out.

Now that the days and nights are cooler and the garden is mostly finished until next spring, I’m loving the idea of doing more quilting.  If only I didn’t have to cook and shop and pick up the house and  . . .  well, I’m guessing you get it.  Sometimes life gets in the way of my fun.  Still, I don’t think I’d want to have it any other way.

Please sign up for our newsletters.  We promise not to flood your inbox.  We’ll talk a bit more about quilting techniques and welcome your input and ideas.  We’ll also email you the patterns for two postcards just for signing up.

Keep having fun,

Candy