Thursday, June 30, 2016

June Marginalia

I'm still working on my daily circles and am caught up through June 26.  I started these on Nov 4 last year so I have about 8 months of circles. That means I'm 2/3 of the way through the year!! Slowly but surely I'll end up with a big journal quilt. 

A lot of my circles this month are about fruits, flowers and veggies.  I love gardening about as much as I love quilting. 

And speaking of LOVE...we just celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary and the spark is still there. Celebrate, celebrate, dance to the music!! 

We still haven't had a honeymoon and we still do absolutely nothing special when our anniversary rolls around. We just got used to having no money when we were younger to spend on anything other than necessities and have just continued on living frugally. 

We lived in Naples, FL back then (39 years ago).  We had lived together for four years and had two kids together so we decided to tie the knot one day after work.  Our friend, Sandy, was a notary public. In Florida it was legal for her to marry us so she officiated. My soon-to-be-married brother and his fiancee were our witnesses. After a few verses were read that I had chosen from a  Kahlil Gibran book we were married. Sandy and her husband surprised us and made a cake and served some champagne.  It was just another day. Ahhhh, memories!!

(P.S.  I made most of our clothes back then.  See husband's shirt and my outfit - halter top and matching long loose pants in some slinky knit. These were NOT specially made wedding clothes but our everyday wear. ) 

The daily circle was Audrey's idea - Quilty 365. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Redwork Nursery Rhymes

When you don't have air conditioning you don't work on hand quilting big quilts this time of year. Instead you work on smaller items like these redwork Ruby McKim nursery rhyme blocks posted last year by Martha at Q is for Quilter. And with these two I now have completed 12 of the 20 blocks. 

I'm getting ready to go embroider some more blocks out on the deck, listen to nature sounds, chat with hubby and drink a margarita. Hopefully my embroidery won't be crooked. 

We've Got a Winner!

The random number generator picked Quilting Babcia who blogs at Amity Quilter as the winner of the autographed copy of Build-A-Barn. Congratulations! I'll contact you soon. 

I'm sorry everyone could not win but if you would like to purchase a copy see 

Meanwhile, I just got finished traveling 4 hours across state on Saturday and 4 hours back today and I probably saw literally hundreds of barns.  Barns are everywhere in Iowa - all shapes, sizes and colors. I even saw a Harley Davidson store in a barn shaped building.  

I took along my circles to applique.  This one commemorates my Build-A-Barn blog week! 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

String Stars - It's a Flimsy!

String Stars
86 x 98
A flimsy for now

I used my bright and long string scraps. 
Most were strings cut from quilt backings. 

From far away the fabrics kind of blend together. Up close you can see a variety of fun things - monster eyeballs, pirates, Santa and Rudolph, spiders...

...and Spider Man...and gingham. I love gingham. 
Ah, the memories of quilts past! 

Linking to:

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Build-A-Barn Will Give You the Confidence to Build More than Barns

I started with a door and windows with lace curtains in a whitewashed stone structure. 

I then added a thatched roof.  I purposely left a loose overhang of thatch that is currently just tacked down with pins. 

I then added a chimney and sky from a couple of different small pieces of sky fabrics I tried to blend into one. I ran into a little problem on one side where those pins are but I'll fix that later.  

I then added a rock wall with plants in it and a gate and some weeds and dirt.

And I ended up with a very special house in Ireland - in Ashfield Demesne, Beagh Parish, Galway to be exact. 

Ancestral Joynt home in Ashfield Demesne (aka Shananglish), Beagh Parish, Galway c. 1959

In the 1860s my great-great grandparents David Joynt and Bridget McDermott Joynt and 9 of their 10 children left Ireland at various times for America.  Their oldest daughter Margaret Joynt Nally was the only one to stay behind in Ireland and in the home and on the land the others left behind. 

The picture above was taken in 1959 and passed down to me, family historian. I was told it was taken by my grandfather's brothers on a trip to Ireland.  Later while doing family research I happened to find a newspaper article that told about that visit.  

Newspaper excerpts of visit to house above by my grand uncles follows.

Originally pub in LeMars Globe-Post, LeMars (Plymouth Co), Iowa
Republished in Emmetsburg (Palo Alto Co, Iowa) Democrat


...Focus of the entire trip was the old Joynt cottage in County Galway, in a
village called Shanaglish. The word Shanaglish means Old Church and it seems
there was an old church there as long as earliest history shows. The Old
Church is still there and masses are read there regularly.

The nearest "Big Town" is Gort, population about 1500. Resisting the
hospitable urgings of the people of Shanaglish, the tourists spent the night
in an inn at Gort, and nearly everybody in County Galway made it a point to
try to meet the distinguished visitors and bid them the top o' the mornin'
or evenin' as the case may be.

The Irish are very friendly people, Dr. R.J. Joynt said, and every mither's
son of them felt he had something important to tell the guests. "They
thought we were big-shots," Dr. Joynt explained, "and we felt that it would
be unkind of us to disillusion them. So we let it go at that."

Living in the old Joynt home is the family of Christie Nally, grandson of
the oldest sister of the Doctors Joynt's father. The rest of the family
migrated to the United States in 1869 [actually 1867], but the oldest
daughter married a local boyfriend and stayed.

The Joynt farm consists of 22 Irish acres, about the same as 28 Plymouth
county [Iowa] acres. It still has a pasture on a high hill, and a peat bog from
which they get their sod for fuel.

Dr. R.J. Joynt said that his father had often spoken nostalgically of a
certain low window in the old stone house, which was easily broken and which
therefore was always stuffed with a gunny sack. The tourists investigated
and found the window, sure enough, and there was the pane missing, just as
in 1869, and there was the gunny sack.

"But it was a new gunny sack," Dr. Joynt reported with a touch of sadness.

The old cottage is built of stone, with a straw thatched roof. Not a stone
has been changed in 85 years, and thatch looked that way.

"How often do you have to thatch that roof?" Christie Nally was asked.
"About once every 14 years," Christie replied.
"How long has it been since you thatched it?"
"Well, it has been just about 14 years."

This doesn't mean that Shanaglish was careless about honoring its visitors,
however. In honor of the expected visit Christie Nally white-washed the
walls, all nice and clean. And Mrs. Nally baked a cake.

Christie Nally made this succint observation: "Yer father [Michael Joynt b.
1851] did well when he went to America!" ...

The same ancestral home in 1976 when a cousin of my Dad visited. 

One of these days the ancestral home I built will end up in a quilt surrounded by the Emerald Isle. (I might even add a piece of "gunny sack" to one of the windows).  

And that leads me to how I went about building my home: 

Julie Sefton's book Build-A-Barn walked me through the process of first free-piecing a barn and that experience then gave me the confidence to try free-piecing my ancestral home.  Believe me, if I can do it so can you. I'm more of a left-brained (logical) than right-brained (creative) person.  So I guess that means I'm rarely in my right mind but Julie and her book set me straight. 

For a chance to win an autographed copy of Build-A-Barn leave me a comment telling me what you would like to build. 

 I'll draw a winner late Sunday after I return from an out-of-town wedding. (Winner will be drawn by random number generator from comments left on this post and my previous post about building a barn. So you have two chances to win if you leave a comment on each post.) 

If you don't win you will have to buy a copy! (Yes, you do need a copy. Really!)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

I Built a Barn. You Know You Want To.

In December 2014 Julie Sefton  who blogs at Me and My Quilts - Exploring the Possibilities  invited several ladies to join the Secret Society of Barn Builders (SSOBB). What did that mean? That meant we would all read Julie's process notes for a book she was writing  and then build our own free-pieced barn.   At first I thought she had the wrong person. Me? Free-piece? Yikes? I was honored to be invited to the club; however, I really hadn't free-pieced anything ever before except for a few wonky letters so I was nervous but accepted the challenge. 

I decided to piece the barn out in my back yard (above).  You can't see part of it on the right because a big cedar tree is in front of the added on section where the roof starts to slope. 

This is what I ended up with. 

How did that happen? 
I read and re-read Julie's process notes before I even took one cut into a piece of fabric.  Then I followed along step by step with her notes. 

(By the way, I actually had all of these fabrics in my stash so I guess I was destined to build a barn some day).

I started with the "pass-thru" area which is kind of messy in real life. It leads out to flower gardens, orchard and a pool. The ladders lead up into a hayloft where I used to hang flowers for drying that we sold at Farmer's Market.  Now I'm afraid to go up there as I think some raccoons have set up household up there. And I've seen some bats in the rafters. Yucky. 

In my fabric barn the pass-thru leads out to pigs and pastures. Actually, there are pastures on either side of us and way, way, way, out past our flower gardens and orchards and wood lot is another one of our pastures but you can't see that via our pass-thru.   And we did raise a pig once in the back of our barn. It ran through our yard, the kids caught it, we asked every farmer around if it was theirs, it wasn't, so we raised it.  And then we butchered and ate it.  Yummy!

 There's metal siding over the barn wood where the addition was added on.  The part behind that Cedar tree.  And on the other side of that is a field. 

I used striped fabric for the metal siding. And there's chickens in there because for a number of years we did raise chickens in the barn.  We are thinking of doing it again after I retire. 

I added lots of other personal details... cats because our barn is a cat bed and breakfast for all the strays everyone brings out to the country and lets mushrooms because my daughter and son-in-law are certified mushroom shamrocks because of my Irish ancestry. 

I sent it off to Julie when I was finished building my barn and then she had Chris Ballard quilt all of our barns.  If I remember correctly the barns are all touring with some AQS quilt shows now. 

I didn't go into specific process details because I followed along with Julie's notes. I accepted her challenge and in return she gave me the confidence to free-piece.   If you would like to know the process details and so much more you will just have to buy the book or win one.  

I'll be giving away one autographed copy of Build-A-Barn.  I'll probably draw a name Sunday, June 26, when I get home from an out-of-town wedding.   You will have two chances to win. Add a comment to this post and then come back Wednesday to see what else I've free-pieced (thanks to Julie's excellent book) and leave a comment on that post. 

You've all probably heard the phrase, "close the door...were you born in barn?". Well, I know you probably weren't actually born in a barn; however, if you had, what animal would you have been?  Leave a comment and let me know.   


81 x 91
Hand quilted

(Here it is fresh out of the washer and actually going to continue to hang on the line to dry even after I'm finished with the photo shoot.  Electricity is expensive out here in the boondocks.)

I think this is one of my older UFOs. I see my earliest blog post was in August 2011. 

Over the years I managed to make 72 blocks out of 30s reproduction fabrics (or fabrics that seemed like 30s to me). I love 30s reproduction fabrics because they remind me of my grandmother's quilts.  

I big stitched in Perle #8 which was whiter than the Kona Snow I used for the background so up close the white stitching kind of makes the background look dirty. I didn't find that out until I did some hand quilting outside in the sunshine.  Well, that's the way it is. 

 I didn't mark anything (as you can probably tell). 

 I like to use Hobbs Heirloom Cotton Batting (80/ 20) for my hand quilted quilts. It is easiest for me to needle through and I like that it shrinks a little bit when washed which I think gives it a vintage look.   

I usually use wide muslin for the backs of quilts that I make with 30s reproductions. 

I'm glad this big quilt is finally finished. It's getting too hot to hand quilt. I don't have air conditioning and so covering myself with a big quilt to hand quilt it is not really a good idea these days.  I'll have to find some other hand work for a few months. 

Today I'm joining some others in a virtual quilting bee at Kathy's Quilts for some Slow Sunday Stitching (on what has yet to be determined now that I'm finished with this monstrosity). 

for the 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Aqua, Blue-Green, Turquoise, Teal 2.5

This week I worked with my 2.5 inch scraps.
First thing I usually do is look for four 2.5 pieces that are long enough to cut four links that will look good together for my Interlocking Chain blocks.  If I don't I will cut from my scrap chunks. 

Sprouts,  Happy Blocks, Depression Blocks

The next thing I do is see if there are any novelty pieces and, if so, I cut a 2.5 square and surround it with 1.5 inch scraps to make little 4.5 I Spy Happy Blocks. 

Then I cut enough squares for a few Sprouts.  After that I match up the RSC color with a neutral 2.5 scrap and cut some HSTs with an EZ Angle ruler. I usually remember that I need 16 HSTs for each Depression Block and 4 for each Sprout and make just enough HSTs but if the mood strikes I make extra HSTs and then sew them up into little 4 inch blocks like pinwheels or broken dishes.  The mood didn't strike this time. 

Pyramid Pieces

And finally I match up neutrals again with the RSC color of the month and make Pyramid Pieces following a tutorial at the Molly Flanders blog. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Building a Log Cabin- String by String, Scrap by Scrap

Wonky Logs
It's just a top now.  Quilting to follow soon (I hope). 
40 x 60

I like to make Wonky Logs when I get enough short string scraps.  And I usually use red scraps for the centers. 

After I piece together some scrap batting and figure out what to use for a back it will get quilted by me on my DSM.   And then I will donate it to either 

When the time comes I will link up to:

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Aqua, Teal, Turquoise, Blue-green

Triangle Star
I use miscellaneous sized scraps to cut my triangles by hand. 
These stars finish at 18 3/4 inches.

Nine 6 inch Improv Bullseye Blocks

I'm kind of surprised I liked making these AND I like how they look! 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Gwennie Inspired Medallion QAL

There's a Gwennie (Gwen Marston) Inspired Medallion QAL going on in blog land.

  Lori at Humble Quilts is hosting the monthly linky party. 
The first theme from Lori for the center block is BASKET.  Other ladies will decide our themes for the coming months.  It should be fun!

 I prefer making lots of pieced blocks over one appliqued blocks any day so I pieced my blocks and made traditional "cake stand" blocks that I'm calling baskets since I called them baskets in another quilt I made in 2014.   In that quilt I filled most of  my "baskets" with flowers and fruits and some other fun things I had in my stash. 

But there were no baskets of chocolate in that quilt! Gasp!

Well...I love chocolate (and cookies and donuts) so I filled a few baskets with those favorites for my center block.   I decided to leave off two corners until I decide what to do for the second round. I might take off the other two corners, put the missing two back on or who knows what. 

I like big quilts so that's what this will be. I don't have a design wall so took it outside today after I got home from work to hang it on the clothesline. It was way too windy for a photo (boo hoo) so my husband came to my rescue and helped hold it still for a photo.  


After I filled up those baskets I remembered I had won some baskets last year from Block Lotto  (or was it the year before?)  Anyway, I haven't used them all in a quilt yet  (I used a few with some woven blocks in a quilt ) so I decided to sew them all together and play along with these as a center also. 

I see the next theme is CHILDHOOD.  Hmmmm...

I'm off to view everyone's basket centers. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

OMG: String Stars

I'm declaring my OMG (One Monthly Goal) for June. It is to finish my String Star quilt top.  

I don't have a design wall so I just pinned up a little bit of it on the wall behind my sewing machine. I'm not even halfway finished with the top. 

I've had the strings all sewn together and cut into star points for a long time. I think this is the month they will turn into stars!   ALL of the strings used were from the scrap bag. I didn't cut a single piece of fabric to make new strings.

Linking up to:

Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun than Housework


Saturday, June 4, 2016

Aqua 1.5

Since the new Rainbow Scrap Challenge color announcement of blue-green/aqua/teal (you get the picture)  I've worked with my 1.5 scraps to make a couple of ten inch postage stamp rail fence blocks...

...and fourteen 3 inch spools. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

If You're Happy and You Know It Make a Block (or Swap)

Happy Blocks are quick and easy and a great for using up scraps.  
They can be made any size or with any shape. 
I keep a box of them around in various themes so I have the ingredients for a quick quilt should the need arise. 

Over the last couple of years I've made pillowcases with comic book themed fabric. I have quite a few leftover pieces of fabric now so decided to make some Happy Blocks. These are 6.5 inch centers framed by 2.5 inch sides for a 10 inch finished block.  I'm just going to frame these in red, blue and yellow solids. 

I'm participating in a swap of six inch (finished) Happy Blocks. 
The centers are four inch I Spy novelties and the sides are 1 3/4 inch bright Tone on Tones. We are swapping 8 each of 7 different blocks.   I used insects, birds and animals for all of my blocks - the six on the bottom and the green background mouse on top.   The other three will stay with me as well as a set I'm swapping.   I had those four inch center pieces already cut in a novelty pile of fabric so went ahead and added frames while I was at it. 
Swaps are a great way to get a variety of different fabrics if you are a fabric -holic. 

(And if you want to swap any wild kingdom Happy Blocks like these with me let me know. I want to make a big Wild Kingdom quilt).  

And speaking of swaps...
There's still some spots left.   
Above are the fabrics I'll cut into squares for the swap.