Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Scrappy 9-patch

I took this with my phone. I forgot I even had a camera on my phone as I hardly ever use it. The phone, that is! Its a wannabe smart phone (ie mostly dumb) but actually has the same pixels as my old now defunct camera. No zoom, of course, nor flash or any other features. But it does an OK job.

Anyway, I wanted to show you the last quilt I finished. This was from a 9-patch block exchange I participated in last year with eight other women at the Point Bonita quilt retreat. I cherry picked for the most "old-timey" looking blocks, and decided on the double 9-patch which is one of my favorite blocks. I auditioned several fabrics - including three different toiles - for the background, and settled on the tan toile.

At this point I feel I must make the following note:
I have only recently become acquainted with a number of quilt blogs, including inspired by antique quilts , which is a remarkable blog and hugely inspiring in itself. Lo and behold, down in the archives the author posts her red double nine-patch, set in red and white toile. Very similar to my quilt. Kathy, if you see this, I want you to know I did not steal your idea. But I do give you credit for coming up with the idea before I did.

Moving on, my preferred method of quilting is to start by pin basting, then machine quilt in the ditch between the blocks to lock the whole thing down. Then I hand quilt in the open areas, and wherever else it will show and look pretty. This makes it go way faster, the process is much less tedious, and the result is, it has the look and feel of a totally hand quilted quilt.

I rarely send my tops out to a long-arm quilter, but sometimes will machine quilt the entire quilt myself. I use a Bernina 150 with a walking foot. I rarely do any free motion quilting on my machine as I have never really gotten the hang of it, and the process is very stressful to me. I much prefer the relaxation of hand quilting.

 Sometimes I quilt in my big hoop...

sometimes I quilt in a pvc frame...

...and sometimes I quilt off the frame, or partially off like here, like when I get close to the edge. If this looks strange its because my quilting hand is holding the camera!

OK, so totally off the subject, another discovery I made this morning is that Lonestar Quilting is having a 30% off sale, so you might want to get over there and check it out. The have a slew of reproduction fabrics - I myself ended up buying more than a few cuts... I may post on that later.

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Its all a learning curve!

I am quilting, and have several things I'd like to share, but still need to fine tune my photography. This isn't as easy as I thought it would be! It doesn't help that my camera croaked - its over ten years old - so I've been trying out the one I bought for my husband last year. Lots to learn there, and I feel guilty loading up his camera with all my quilt photos. Unfortunately, the pix I have on file on my computer are pretty crappy, as some of you already know!  Be patient, hopefully good things to come...

Meanwhile I did manage to get some decent pix of some of my other creative endeavors:

This is my Navel Orange and Clementine Marmalade, made with oranges from my tree, and Clementines from the farmers market. The peak ripeness for my oranges does not always overlap with Clementine season, so I don't get to make this every year. And I have tried making it with "other" oranges, but I'm sorry its just not the same. This year I got lucky. I know many folks don't care for marmalade, but this is NOTHING like what you buy in the store! My oranges are super sweet, and with the Clementines the resulting flavor is almost like eating candy. BTW I do not use the Blue Chair method - I tried her method and the results were not to my liking. I like my preserves to be bright and fresh tasting, hers are darker and more concentrated, and taste more "cooked".  I guess its just a matter of taste. Anyway, everything I use is organic, including the sugar which Costco now carries, thank you very much! Isn't it beautiful?

A couple years ago I tasted a vendor's Rhubarb Ginger Jam at the Saturday Market in downtown Portland. It blew me away, and I knew I had to figure out how to make it! It took a few tries, but I believe I've nailed it. The hardest part is making it look pretty, 'cuz it mostly wants to look like mud. The trick is picking only the very young, very red stalks, cooking it slowly and not stirring too much. I know not very many people can hack the taste of rhubarb, but I love it. I can literally eat this stuff right out of the jar. Amazingly, the sugar to fruit ratio is much lower than ordinary jam - like, two cups to six cups of rhubarb. Its all organic, no pectin is involved, so its really very pure and almost healthy - ha ha!

This is everyone's favorite, my infamous Hot Pepper Jelly. I use a variety of peppers, including some really hot ones I grow myself, so the jelly has some really good kick. A couple years ago I went a little heavy on the "hot" side, resulting in a batch of jelly so hot I couldn't eat it! I went ahead and canned it anyway, and labeled it "Hella Hot Pepper Jelly" and you guessed it, it was a big hit! Nothing healthy about this jelly, its mostly sugar, and includes Certo pectin. But its killer over cream cheese, with crackers.

Here are a few of this year's pepper plant starts, ready to be planted. I actually got them in the ground this past weekend. Come fall, I'll have enough peppers for several batches of jelly, plus more to dry for hot pepper flakes, and I mean HOT. Which my husband loves to put on his pizza. I also end up drying a variety of other (milder) peppers and make a "blend" which I prefer - only a two alarm fire as opposed to a six!

Shoot, I should have taken a picture of my pepper flakes. Oh well, maybe next time.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Hello, my name is Sandy and I'm about to attempt to create a blog!

Its been a long time since I've used Blogger, and it has changed!
I'm trying to figure it out all over again, as I go along.

I thought I'd start by showing this little doll quilt I made my niece, several years ago. The embroidered poodle is from an old tea towel that was in the rag bag. The rest of it is all leftovers from the Red and Black quilt I made my sister (scroll to see below).

Below is a partial photo the quilt I made my sister, but it doesn't show the border, which is a black tone-on-tone print. I hope to get a better photo when I visit my sister this summer.


The greys and blacks are mostly Mourning Prints from the Civil War Era. I did not know this when I bought them and made the quilt! I just thought they would look good with the red. I ended up quilting it with perle cotton, which was a horrid process, and have since switched to embroidery thread for my "bold" quilting.

ps - after viewing some of the other Quilting blogs, I'm thinking I need to change my approach to photography!