Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Totality


From a small town in Idaho, four hours from home, DH and I watched the total solar eclipse with about 30 carloads of our newest friends--most of whom had driven up from Utah (like ourselves) to catch the full effect. It was awe-inspiring!


We left home Sunday evening, after church services and family dinner. We drove into Ririe, ID at 11:00 p.m. Joining a handful of other cars, we parked in an LDS church parking lot and tried to sleep in the back of our van--having removed the back two rows of seats before leaving home and adding 2 foam mats and bedding.

By morning the number of cars had doubled, and as the morning wore on, the numbers kept increasing.
 
When the eclipse began, there were families and groups all over the church lawn witnessing the bite the moon took from the sun, beginning at the upper right. We were ready! 
The cute family that were next to us during the eclipse were kind enough to pose for me with their glasses on.

 

 

As the bites of the moon grew larger, strange things began happening, much of it dealing with shadows.


Shadows lost their sharp edges and became fuzzy and indistinct. This also distorted the original shape somewhat. See those bumps between hubby's fingers. They aren't there in real life. :)

And rather than light just passing  between the leaves on a tree to a surface below, creating leaf shapes, they acted like the mini pinhole viewers. They showered any surface beneath them with little crescent shaped lights.

As the crescent of the sun becomes more and more a sliver,  we brace ourselves for the big moment.

The quality and intensity of the light around us is changing and seems dim, flat and dull. The air has cooled by several degrees, and there is a soft orange glow on the horizon--in every direction.
And then it happens--totality!
The sky appears to be in the last stages of dusk, the auto-on lights of nearby buildings come on, the temperature has dropped almost 20 degrees, the stars and planets are visible, there are no shadows, and you get to rip off those glasses and look right at the sun with its blazing corona!



Cheers and whooping erupt from the crowd and then almost a reverent awe settles in as we try to embrace each fleeting moment of this possibly once-in-a-lifetime experience

In just over 2 minutes the spectacle of totality has passed. It is a memory that will live forever, though the experience itself seemed to slip by incredibly fast!
But the show isn't entirely over. Gradually the moon excuses itself from in front of the sun, until it is barely obscuring the lower left corner. And then it is gone.
(If you look very closely you can detect three sunspots in the center.)

You leave knowing you have been a part of something very special, and that memory makes even the 8 1/2 hours of travel time home (for what should be a four hour trip), all worth it!

Especially when nice people gather on the overpasses to witness and wave to the masses leaving their state.
 

Until next time (when I will reveal my latest mini quilt swap).
Janet O.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Love Thy Neighbor

In her latest post, Maureen (pursuit of quilts blog) suggested that in light of recent events, she felt compelled to make a quilt using some house blocks that were under construction at her place to create a quilt with the theme "Love Thy Neighbor".  She invited any and all to join her.
Just so happens that I had some little house blocks awaiting placement in a mini quilt I had planned. Well, plans change. This is what I am doing with them.
The blocks finish at 2 3/4", so this won't be terribly big, but I think it gets the point across. I will border it with something, and I think that will take it a little beyond 12" square.
But can you see that I ran out of sashing fabric? That soft green is a Paula Barnes fabric. I was working from what I thought was a generous scrap that would do the job, but the last bits just were not large enough. Even if I piece them I will only make about half the sashings I still need. No other green blends with the greens in this quilt well enough, and I do want the green all the way around the outer edge. An internet search came up empty.

Anyone have any of this fabric I can buy? I really only need 1" WOF, or 2" from the longer edge of a FQ, but I'd love to buy yardage if anyone has some they are willing to sell. I do love this soft green.








I used the heart block that was in the Temecula "Box of Chocolates" mini, shown here. But I had to redraft the block so that it finished at 2 3/4", and I wanted the hearts to float just a bit. I think it will work when I have it all sewn together. 

And speaking of Temecula, they didn't post a finish for their Marvelous Mini Monday SAL this week, as many of you know. Just another block. And now I am more curious than ever about how the blocks will fit together. How do 19 blocks play well together? And 10 of them are sampler blocks--the newest rests in my hand.

I had several tell me they couldn't find the error in my Midnight Flight block, so here you go. See the black triangles in the red circle? See how they point away from the purple, and all the other ones point toward it?


Here is the corrected version.

Much better! 
It is a tricky block to lay out.  I am glad I am only doing a throw size. :)

You often see mountain views on my blog, but lately I haven't really been posting them. So here is one for you. 
This was the view over the weekend when a fire erupted on the other side of the mountain. As we sat out on our deck with a grandson Sunday evening there was a light ash falling from the sky. Not the view I prefer, but interesting, nonetheless.

Almost forgot--in trying to come up with another snip of that green Paula Barnes fabric, I sorted through my scrap basket. My scrap basket is small, as scrap baskets go, but I have decided it is time to replenish it with new stock. From time to time, when kind bloggers share their scraps with me, I set them aside until I decide to purge my basket. It is time. So if you are interested in a pouch full of this, let me know. Keep in mind that I have mostly been making mini quilts, so the scraps are not large--and these are all CW repros in this basket.

Finally--are you chasing the eclipse, or do you live in its path? We are set for a wild adventure trying to brave traffic jams and crowds to see it in its totality. I'll let you know if we even make it. :)

Don't forget--do you have the green fabric, and are you interested in the scraps? Thanks!
Janet O.
 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Where is this going?

I know it is a mystery, so it isn't like we are supposed to know what we are doing, but on those rare occasions when I participate in a mystery, it is kind of fun to see if I can guess where it is going. I have to admit that this Temecula Marvelous Mini Monday has me stumped.

No matter what layout I try, there is always one leftover block hanging out in the breeze. Next week is supposed to be the last week and I am really curious to see what this is to become.

At Randy's urging, I finally put the borders on all of the blocks. I had been holding off to see the layout and decide if I wanted to do them the way they were posted, or the way I was planning. She convinced me to "take a chance", so I did them my way. I had already turned the 36-patches into 49-patches, and now I made the inner borders from neutrals instead of colors. I have such a hard time following a pattern exactly! :)






I guess all of these blocks are going to wait patiently for the final clue (certainly more patiently than I am waiting).

Have you figured it out?









Below you see a very rough draft of my first Midnight Flight block. I got so confused trying to lay this out, that I haven't sewn it together yet. My colors do not provide as much contrast as Bonnie's, so the design is not as bold.

 As I was pressing the units to lay this out I realized something that made me laugh. I think my 1.25" finished blocks in the Fairy Garden Party quilt are more carefully and precisely sewn than these larger units are. I guess I get sloppy when I go large. 
Oh, right. I see the block in the upper left quadrant that I have turned the wrong way--like I said, I had a hard time with this layout. At least it isn't all sewn together.


Thank you to all for your very kind comments on my last post. I appreciate each one!

Until next time,
Janet O.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Did I Do That?

Do you remember the sitcom with the skinny, nerdy guy that used to ask that question all the time? I think the character was Steve Urkel, but I don't recall the name of the show.
Anyway, his voice sounded that question in my ear when I finally had this sewn together.
If you read my last post, you know that this is based on Bonnie Hunter's Garden Party from her book, Addicted to Scraps. You will also know that a cutting error on my part was the cause of the alteration of my plans from 2.5" finished blocks to 1.25" finished. I think I will name this Fairy Garden Party.







Here is some perspective.
This was obviously prior to adding borders.












 
I realize not all readers may be familiar with the size of the U.S. quarter.
The color on this photo is really off (took it at night without a flash), but it gives a comparison that may be more recognizable for some.





Something of which I never tire with mini quilts is watching how much they shrink as they are assembled.
Even my 30-something son that was visiting as I took this photo got a kick out of this.

Three things I can't do without when assembling a quilt like this are my Itty Bitty Eights 5x15 ruler and the two original smaller ones from Creative Grid, my Clover Fine glass-head pins, and my Ott-Lites.


These rulers are a mini quiltmaker's dream come true, though they are perfect for any size quilt where accuracy is critical. I reviewed the smaller two here, and after being asked what I would like for Mother's Day last May, the larger one found its way to my sewing room. It quickly became indispensable!




The thin, dashed lines, and markings in 1/8th increments make precision much easier to achieve.
 
 Every thread counts when making a mini.

When sewing seams on a little quilt I pin copiously! Every seam that matches up, and the beginning and ending of every seam gets its own pin--and sometimes the spaces in between. The slim pins cause almost no distortion, and I do sew right over them. I stitch very slowly on minis, so the pins don't go flying, even if I do hit one (which isn't often). All of the blocks for my Fairy Garden Party were stitched on my Featherweight, but the rows were stitched and assembled on my Pfaff.
I also like the fact that if I do need to press anything with pins in it, there is no melting risk, as with plastic headed pins.

Last, but not least, is my Ott-Lite. I have been sewing with an Ott-Lite by my machine for about 20 years. I know there are newer "full-spectrum" lights available, but I am very happy with my Ott-Lites. I now have 9 of them at my house.

This is one of the two that I added to the flock this week when Jo~Ann had them 50% off and there was a one day coupon for 20% off your total purchase. DD#2 and I made a quick run to Jo~Ann and each came home with 2 new lights. Featherweights aren't equipped with the brightest of lights, but this lamp spotlights the stitching area beautifully.

Are you doing the Temecula Mini Monday blocks? If so, how did you do on this week's blocks?
I struggled with an inexact seam allowance, so I opted to make my blocks 49 patches, on a 7x7 grid. The squares  were cut at 1" (actually most of the blocks were strip pieced), and the blocks are unfinished at 4" without having to play with the seam allowances. The fourth one is almost finished, and pieces for #5 are waiting to be sewn. There are multiple SALs I intended to do this year, but this is the only one I have actually followed.

Well, I think that covers it for now. The pile of mini quilt flimsies is beginning to grow again. I do NOT want a repeat of last year, so I had better get some quilted very soon!
Until next time, 
Janet O.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Doin' Brigham City with Bonnie

What a time we had for two days in Brigham City, Utah! Bonnie has more energy than I think I ever have had in my whole life. And she is a constant source of hints and tips for better and more streamlined quilt making.
Here she is in front of her Garden Party quilt, which was our first class.
This quilt has 100 posy blocks that finish at 5". I planned to make my blocks finish at 2.5", and only do a mini with about 20 blocks. Last week I was up in the wee hours cutting and kitting my fabrics for the two quilts we would be starting here.

So how did this happen?

These teeny things are going to finish at 1.25"!
Did you catch that I had done my cutting in the wee hours of the morning? Well, as I sat in class this week I realized that my pieces were not all cut correctly. There was a part of the block that I had miscalculated in my sleep deprived stupor. My only option at this point was to go smaller. So I had to cut my size in half again! Could I do it? Apparently.


Here you see one of my little finished blocks by a block in Bonnie's quilt. If you go to Bonnie's post here, you can scroll down and see my blocks in a bowl with a penny in the center for comparison. In her post you will also get more info and shots of the venue, which was amazing.

This is The Academy Conference Center (a former ballet academy) from the middle, looking toward the front, as Bonnie gave a demo.
 This is the same room looking from the middle toward the back.
Here is Bonnie giving my friend and roomie, Kim, a personal demo on pressing. In the background you can see where we were served our lunch.
 
Kim spent her time focused on making Scrap Crystals. Bonnie was teaching this later in the week at another venue, but we could not make that class. 


The first day we had fun getting to know Wendy and Courtney (who came from Minnesota to take the class with her friend) as we worked. 
The second day we had the table to ourselves. The class was only about 2/3 full that day.

 
Following class, the LQS provided  some retail therapy. It was fun to see Bonnie shopping in one of my favorite little quilt shops.
 






That night we had dinner at a local iconic restaurant, Maddox. There were 15 of us from the class that day, and two that would be in class the next day.


Our second day was Midnight Flight (shown below). I had to leave a little early that day. As we got started that morning I made a management decision to make my color placement a little different. As I worked, I realized it wasn't a good choice, so I had to start over again sewing my strips and making my 4-patches. That left me a step behind the rest of the day and by the time I had to leave I had not finished a block. Maybe I can get some finished next week and share them with you.
Kim, Bonnie, and me in front of Midnight Flight.
It was about 6 1/2 years ago that I bought Bonnie's "Adventures With Leaders and Enders" on Amazon. That led me to her blog (my intro to quilt blogs), and eventually got me blogging. I had many fun email exchanges with Bonnie back before she had a bazillion followers, when she actually had time to respond. It was delightful to finally meet her! She is as real as they come, and an excellent teacher. If you have a chance to take a class from her, I highly recommend it!
 Until next time,
Janet O.


 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Final Answer!

That is in reference to the centers of my mini Dresdens. This is it. Thanks to everyone that gave their input! I really appreciated it.
I haven't trimmed down the border yet. I cut it large because I wasn't sure how big I wanted it to be, but I wanted to get it sewn one. I guess the centers are kind of hard to see in this photo.

Here they are in the "audition phase", before anything was sewn together.
In an email, Robin suggested I try to  find something that could be fussy-cut for the centers. I don't do much fussy-cutting (except for plaid borders). I liked the idea, but didn't hold out much hope. This has been a hard fabric line to match. I finally found this little print. I would have preferred the flowers to be a little larger, but I am so done with trying to find a center for these Dresdens. I like this best of anything I have tried so far. There you have it!



This week's Temecula Marvelous Mini Monday block has been sewn. It is the one on the lower left. I am considering doing the inner border on these blocks in a consistent neutral, and making the outer border random prints. I have the neutral borders all cut, but have been hesitant to attach them. I may wait until they post the final layout and decide if my approach will look good or not.

I have spent way too much time cutting and kitting for my classes with Bonnie Hunter next week. My 8 foot long kitchen island has been covered with fabric, cutting mat, rulers, rotary cutter, Bonnie's books--and lots of scraps. It was too big a job for my sewing room cutting area. I kept changing my mind on the fabrics. I would get a bunch out and pile them on the counter to start cutting, and then decide I didn't like the combination, and I would start over again. But I am finally finished, and this is what I have chosen.
I am making "Midnight Flight" from thrift store shirts. My color scheme is purple, black, blue, green, and neutrals. (Now that I read that list of colors, it sounds kind of like a bruise.)
Garden Party is being made in batiks of tropical colors with green chains, and my blocks will be half the size of Bonnie's. I am only making 20-24 blocks. It will be a mini--surprised?

I won't be able to keep up with blogs this weekend or through the coming week. I will be out of town most of next week, between Bonnie's classes, and our family reunion/campout (all of which I am trying to prepare for this weekend, along with my Sunday School lesson). Our reunion/campout has always been held as close to my Dad's birthday as possible. This will be the first one since his passing in December. His 94th birthday would have been this coming Monday. I miss him every day!
This is my siblings and parents and I at last year's reunion. The area where we camp (and I do mean camping, not glamping) has a large covered pavilion that makes a great gathering place for everyone. I am so glad we got this photo that evening.


Until next time, 
Janet O.


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