Monday, May 21, 2018

Mountain View Arkansas

No quilty news today; I've been away for a few days. It was a very nice little get-away.

DH and I went to Mountain View, in the Ozarks of north-central Arkansas. We stayed at a lovely B&B called Country Oaks. I would highly recommend it if you're ever in the area. Owners Jerry and Carole are delightful, very gracious and friendly. Jerry designed the beautiful house and landscaped the picturesque grounds, 70 acres including a lake.
Country Oaks B&B

On Friday we went to the Ozark Fold Center state park. We pretty much had the place to ourselves, it was so un-crowded. Which was great, we got to spend a lot of time talking with the artisans. Their purpose is to keep alive heritage crafts, and the artists enjoy talking about their work. DH is big into blacksmithing so he enjoyed talking with the blacksmith. Other crafts on site include chair caning, broom making, weaving, pottery, stained glass, herbal apothecary and of course quilting. We were having such a good time all day that it didn't even occur to me to take pictures!

The other purpose of the Folk Center is to keep alive traditional folk music. We listened to a matinee performance of thumb-picking guitar by Evan Twitty, a tribute to the music of Merle Travis. Friday night we went back to the Folk Center for a concert featuring Thom Bresh, also in the thumb-picking style which was the theme this weekend.

Speaking of music, the town of Mountain View is known for its music. They have a park off the town square where local musicians gather. Three rules: no alcohol (dry county), no amplifiers, and no panhandling. The musicians are just regular folks who come and go. Everyone knows the traditional bluegrass tunes and old-time gospel tunes. Anyone can come play, and anyone can come listen. The Pickin' Park is strategically located right next to the ice cream shop.
Musicians playing in Pickin' Park

We wrapped up our trip with a visit to Blanchard Spring park. The cavern is fabulous, with stunning formations, really beautiful, and the tour guide was both very enthusiastic and a knowledgeable naturalist. Only the one-hour tour was available; I wish we could have taken the longer tour and seen more of the cave. No photos, I tried to get a couple but they didn't turn out.

We also enjoyed the easy walk to the spring, where the water that formed the cave emerges at the rate of 10,000 gallons per hour.
Blanchard Spring

Downstream, another easy walk to the ruins of the old mill that used to gin cotton and grind grain. This is the mill dam which directed the water toward the old water wheel. Nothing is left of the mill anymore except stone foundations.
Old mill dam in Blanchard Spring park

It was good to get away for a few days; the weather was excellent the whole time and we really enjoyed our trip.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A Pressing Problem

Thirty six beautiful blocks.

And they all need to be fixed.

The problem is, when I join the blocks together, there is too much bulk where too many seam allowances come together. See the arrow on the right in this photo? There are already six layers of fabric there. When I join this block to the next one, even if I press the seam allowances open, there will be twelve layers of fabric on each side, big lumps. This happens at all four sides of each block.

So I need to open up the last inch of each of those seams, press the seam allowances in the other direction, and resew the seams. Four per block. 36 blocks. Sigh. Here's one block opened and re-pressed. Not so pretty, now.

This is how UFOs happen. If I don't do this now while this project is still in active progress, I'll never come back to it. So I'm spending some quality time with my seam ripper.

Two blocks unsewn, re-pressed, resewn, and joined together:

OK, this is working. The blocks come together as smooth as possible.

A whole afternoon, and one row to show for it:
Oops, the last block is upside down. More unsewing.

OK, much better:

Another whole afternoon, another row. This is slow and tedious, but worth it.

One of my goals this month is to get these blocks all pieced together into the top. It's taking longer than I thought it would, so wish me luck!

Link up: Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, May 14, 2018

Design Wall Monday: Sports Plus

While my sewing machine was in the shop, I took advantage of the time to cut into the new sports themed FQs I got in Paducah featuring baseballs and footballs.

I added soccer balls, basketballs, and bicycles from stash. I pulled other stash fabrics that harmonize, and cut enough squares for a Plus quilt.

This will eventually become another donation quilt. Agencies who serve kids in crisis always need quilts suitable for older boys. That's what I had in mind for these sports-themed prints.

By mixing in a variety of other prints, I was able to stretch the sports print FQs further. I have enough of the sports prints left for another quilt like this someday.

I have a lot of other projects in work right now, so I'll kit this up to work on at a sew day or a retreat sometime.

Link ups:
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Love Laugh Quilt
Em's Scrapbag

Friday, May 11, 2018

Little Quilts for Nurses for Newborns

STLMQG meets tomorrow and our charity this year is Nurses for Newborns. We can turn in quilts tomorrow and again at the November meeting.

The nurses asked for small quilts, about two feet by three feet. They can easily carry that size along with all their other stuff to their first appointment with a new family. They put the quilt on the floor, put the baby on the quilt and demonstrate baby care, then leave the quilt with the new family.

I've been making one a month since February. This small size is fun to make and easily manageable to quilt. This week - now that my sewing machine is fixed and home, yay - I made this one, simply quilted with a diagonal grid.

The big numbers print is on the back, but the strips I had weren't wide enough so I pieced in a coordinating green. And check out that binding stripe - how perfect is that?! It's one of my Paducah finds.

I'm turning in these five quilts tomorrow:

February with black & bright geometric print
March greens

April's yellow quilt uses blocks from Libby's Magical Mystery. Unfortunately I chose fabrics with not enough value contrast but I don't want the quilt to go to waste.

Below, May's quilt with the big numbers print.
And one extra, a quilt from a 2013 Ohio Star challenge (story here, scroll down) that's been hanging in the closet ever since. It's the right size so I'm passing it along.

All the backs:

 And another pic, just because

So that's what I'm whooping about this week. Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop-Whoop Friday and Friday Finish at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Another Nurses for Newborns Quilt

I have my sewing machine back from the repair shop and it's running nicely. Whoo-hoo!!!

While it was out, I pulled fabrics for one more Nurses for Newborns quilt.

The large print with numbers is actually off-cuts from a backing for a quilt I made several years ago. The pieces I have are not wide enough for a N4Nb backing, but I could splice in a strip of something and make it work. Another small piece of the numbers print would yield six 6-1/2" squares.

I found some coordinating colors in my stash and cut some squares. Now that my machine is home, it took only a short time to piece a top together.

I'll get this quilted and bound this week. On Saturday I'll have an opportunity to turn in all the N4Nb quilts I've made so far.

At 24" x 36", these small quilts are quick, and very satisfying when I get the urge to pull fabrics and play with them. STLMQG will collect N4Nb quilts again in November, so I'll make a few more before then.

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts

Sunday, May 6, 2018


Sarah over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict is once again spearheading a charity quilt drive called Hands2Help, and I'm participating again this year. This time I'm sending some of my Rocking Chair Quilts to Little Lambs Foundation for Kids. They provide backpacks containing personal essentials and comfort items to kids in transition to foster care, etc.
Scrap Scramble, 40" x 44"

Positively Pink, 44" x 44"

Little Boy I-Spy, 40" x 54"

Aztec Inspired, 42' x 54"

My Rocking Chair Quilts are backed with fleece and have no batting, making them soft and snuggly and they'll fold up smaller to fit in the backpacks Little Lambs provides for their clients. 

Today is progress report day over on Sarah's blog, so I'm linking up with Hands2Help at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. 

Friday, May 4, 2018

Donna's Scrappy Nine-Patch Stars

My sewing machine is still in the shop. Sigh.

So today I'm whooping instead for Donna. She sent me a photo, and in her email she said:
Hi Jan, 
I just finished sewing your “Scrappy Nine Patch Stars QOV" pattern! It was a fun, easy quilt top to make and I really enjoyed using up some scraps! It will eventually be quilted and donated to QOV! Thank you for sharing the pattern! I enjoy reading your blog.

Thanks again, 
Donna's Scrappy Nine-Patch Stars QOV
(photo credit Donna T.)

Thank you so much, Donna! And congrats on your finished flimsy. I really like the variety of prints - some are even star-spangled! Thank you for using my pattern.

If anyone else would like the tutorial, you can find it here. Or, if you'd like a PDF version of the pattern, leave a comment with your email address.
60" x 84" Scrappy Nine-Patch Stars QOV

Linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday