FOTY 2017 Top Finished!

FOTY 2017 Top - finished
FOTY 2017 Top – finished

Well, I did it. After what seemed like a lot of trauma, I finished the top last Wednesday in a couple of hours of free time after I finished my chores and work.

I thought I would just sew more chunks together, but it turned out that the quiltmaking goddess smiled on me and all my seams were straight and there was no (or minimal) ripping required.

Now we can really see the gradation and I make no bones about how hard I worked at it this time. It is interesting to see some areas that appear lighter IRL appear darker in the photo (check on the blues next to the bird in the middle of the quilt). I do like the way it looks like the columns are fading in and out. It also has that skyline effect, which is great.

FOTY 2017 Back - ready to quilt
FOTY 2017 Back – ready to quilt

I buckled down and made the back, binding and sleeve on Sunday. Yep! Even the sleeve. I feel quite virtuous.

This is a really hard exercise and I challenge you to do something similar.

Bonnie & Camille Donation Top/Back (Ends n.8)

Sewing on Tim's machine
Sewing on Tim’s machine

I spent the day sewing with Tim yesterday. I went over to his house, so he wouldn’t have to crate his dogs all day.

I didn’t bring my machine, which was really nice! Tim has a couple of machines, one similar to my Janome 6600 and I used that one all day. He worked on an old Kenmore – not THAT old, maybe early 2000s. Despite the sort of tight space, we worked together very well.

 

Ends n.8 - Bonnie & Camille
Ends n.8 – Bonnie & Camille

I had some Bonnie & Camille ‘ends’ from the Stepping Stones n.2 quilt, I think, that were bugging me, so I took them plus my Bonnie & Camille fabric and made that my project. I brought other projects as well so I would have enough to work on, but only got this piece done.

Ends n.8 (Bonnie & Camille)
Ends n.8 (Bonnie & Camille)

Tim said he would quilt it and wanted me to make a back. He prefers plain backs, so looked for some wideback fabric in his collection before we decided I should make the back.

In the course of assembling all the supplies for this quilt, I realized how much Bonnie & Camille fabric I have. I am pretty much done with it, so if you want yardage or charm packs of some of the older collections, let me know and I’ll tell you what I have. Contact information is on the About page.

Various & Sundry 2019 #4

Doing Good
After the tragic events in New Zealand, Angels in Gumboots has created a project to make 100 heart quilts. You can find the information on their Facebook page. Basically, make 6″ finished (6.5 inch unfinished) heart blocks in green on white backgrounds. No novelty prints. You can find the Cluck Cluck Sew pattern (we used it for the Pulse quilts) on her site. My heart is breaking at this latest horror. How often do we have to make these blocks for more quilts which will never take the place of a loved one?

Yes, you have to send the blocks or tops or quilts to NZ. The post office will help you.

Charlotte also writes about white supremacy and white nationalism in her blog post. The post provides some resources on identifying how these ideas/movements (? not sure of the right word) affect societies and the people in them.

Media

Mister Domestic has a YouTube Channel. One of the things he does is unboxes quilt subscription boxes. He laughs a lot during these videos, so if you need a laugh, watch his silliness and get a chance to check out various quilt subscription boxes. I really liked what was in the Modern Quilter’s Box.

I was referred to SuzyQuilts by an article in an older issue of Love of Patchwork & Quilting about Lindsey Neill. This is a really cheerful sounding blog. I also found some really useful posts such as “does batting have a right and wrong side?” If you sign up for her newsletter or mailing list, you get a free pattern. I didn’t so I don’t know what it looks like.

Another article on the healing effects of sewing. This time, it’s from the Guardian. It is written by Clare Hunter who has written a book called Threads of Life: a History of the World Through the Eye of a Needle.

Ronni of Road Home Quiltin’ mentioned a podcast search engine, Listen Notes. I did a search for quilt and came up with a number of the relevant podcasts, such as Quilt Cabana Corner, Off Kilter Quilt, etc. Good job!

Rafael Araujo, a Venezuelen architect, is in the process of publishing an amazing coloring book  about the Golden Mean. This article shows a number of photos of the images. There is a link to the Kickstarter campaign and a pre-order on Amazon from the article.

Barbara Brackman, quilt historian, discusses fabric and pattern in a post on her Material Culture blog.

Fabric, Notions, Supplies & Tools

I found the Ruby Star Society catalog and more information about these former Cotton & Steele designers forthcoming fabric lines.

Gretchen was extolling the virtues of the laser that was included with her relatively new sewing machine. Wherever she posted this information someone came up with an aftermarket solution for those of us with regular machines. You can add a laser to your own machine regardless of make or model. Slice of Pi Quilts has a tutorial on the virtues as well as how to install it.

I found an interesting article about thread.

Projects, Patterns & Tutorials

Barbara Brackman has a blog about block patterns, which someone told me was new. I found that it went back to June of 2016, so it is just new to me and there is a lot of inspiration there. It is, basically, an index of quilt blocks, like her Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, but in blog form. This is good since it looks like the Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns is out of print, or now difficult to find, and people are charging a lot for it. She only posts once a week and her recent post is about Ohio Stars and Nine Patch Stars. There are examples of the quilts. While the fabrics are faded and not bright or cheerful, you can see some trends that show up in Modern quiltmaking. There is a box to subscribe via email.

The Spring 2019 Riley Blake fabric challenge is now full. You can still participate by purchasing the fabric yourself somewhere.

Groups & Guilds

The MQG has the QuiltCon awards ceremony online. I don’t know if you have to be a member to watch. I am a member, but I haven’t watched it. Yet.

 

2019 Cutting Chart

Once again, it has been awhile since I showed my cutting chart. It is something I meant to do in January, but it never seemed to get done. The same thing happened last year, so it has still been a year, which is my actual goal. Once a year.

2019 Cutting Chart
2019 Cutting Chart
  1. Spin Wheel – 3.5×4.5 rectangle – all fabrics except background fabrics
  2. Blue Lemonade – 2×2 square – blue, green and purple
  3. 30 Something – 2.5 x 4.5 rectangle – foreground and background
  4. 30 Something -1.5 x 2.5 rectangle
  5. 30 Something – 2 7/8 x2 7/8 square
  6. 30 Something – 1.5 x 1.5 square. I also cut one of these for a friend and send those off when I have a chance.
  7. 2.5″ squares for different projects. One square is for the 16 patch donation blocks, one is on spec and one is for FOTY 2019
  8. 5″ squares – no particular project, but I thought it might be a good idea to start storing some up for a future project. The impetus was that DH got me a 5″ square keeper for my birthday. That’s as good a reason as any, right?
  9. Half Hexie Stars – 3.5 x 12.5 rectangle
  10. Blue Gradation quilt – 2.5 x 4.5 rectangle – this has been on the Dream Projects list since at least 2014. It might be time to put up or shutup.
  11. Pink Gradation quilt – 2.5 x 4.5 rectangle –
  12. – this has been on the Dream Projects list since at least 2014. It also might be time for me to put up or shutup about this project. I am not sure how many gradation type projects I can do in a row.

As you know, one of the major aspects to my quiltmaking is hunting and gathering. I prefer to make quilts, usually, that use a lot of fabrics. I think many different aquas will be more interesting than just one. This means that many projects, I need to cut a lot of patches from a wide variety of fabrics. It doesn’t work for me to decide to start such a project, open up a fabric bin and start cutting. I don’t want to always stand that long, I get bored and the whole situation results in me hating the project or just stopping about halfway through. Also, if I use that strategy, I get tend to have too many of one color and not enough of others. None of this is good for my stress level and definitely not they way I want my quiltmaking to be.

My system, which I have explained in similar terms before, is that once a project is in my queue, I decide if it requires a ton of cutting. If it does, I can figure out what kind of cutting I need to do (coordinated fabrics or scrappy fabrics as well as size). Either requirement can work with my system. Then I put the shape and color on my list, which I keep the list near my cutting table.  When I have a new piece of washed and ironed fabric I have a good list of exactly what to cut.

Also, I don’t know of another way to really randomize this type of fabric selection. Cutting from fabrics I buy new or pull out to use seems like as good a way as any. Also, as an added bonus, I use fabrics that I like right now -> immediately.

Another problem I had was that I would take fabrics out of bins and find that NOTHING would be cut from them. Not one square. Shameful! This problem was alleviated by the Fabric of the Year project. You can read about the beginnings of that project for me in a post from 2008. Using this method for cutting started the solution to my Hunting and Gathering.

As I got use to cutting one shape, the Fabric of the Year shape, out of new fabrics, it became easier to cut more than one shape. I thought it was a good idea and it became easier to use this new system to make progress on projects I was not yet ready to start sewing. Pretty soon I was up to the number of pieces I am cutting now. And the stacks of those pieces were piling up.

I also found that the fabrics became less precious. I started not to save them for a better project. This meant that fabrics that I loved RIGHT NOW were in a project RIGHT NOW.  I also found out, which I have talked about in terms of the FOTY projects, which fabrics were going to work for other projects. I could go and buy more before it was 3 years later and too late to buy more.

Now, there are many fewer fabrics that not been cut into. When I buy fat quarters, there is not much of them left after all this cutting.

One of the great things about cutting pieces from new fabrics is that it is a great warm-up. Sometimes when I need to get started, pressing fabric and cutting new pieces from new fabrics is a good way to get started. If I have 10 minutes, I can cut, feel like I made progress and got a little stress relief in.

Finished: Scarf

Last year, during or after the Sisters trip, I started knitting a scarf. I had my usual ups and downs with the knitting, ripping out quite a bit, not knitting on it, etc.

Finished Sea Scarf
Finished Sea Scarf

Lately, when DH is out at a meeting on a Wednesday evening, I go to a knitting circle at a local shop in order to see people and have some human contact. I have been 3-4 times. I just sit there, knit and listen. This activity has helped to get this scarf finished. I still have to weave in the ends, but I am calling it done. This project is for me and I will wear it as a summer scarf, for those foggy days in August.

New Red Strip Donation Quilt

Red Strip Donation Blocks
Red Strip Donation Blocks

So, this is the third in my strip quilt donation series after the Green Strip and the Purple Strip. Apparently, I am creating a series, though I am really just cleaning out my scrap drawers.

I worked on this Sunday as leaders and enders as I worked on the Fabric of the Year 2017 top. I made good progress on both. I am about 4 blocks away from having enough blocks to finish up this top. The sad part is that there is no appreciable lessening of my red scrap drawer.

I also forgot to take photos of the blocks as I finished them, so now I need to go back and figure out which ones are new.

 

New Knitting Again

Kira K Designs
Kira K Designs

After my recent scarf finish, I think I need to learn to read a knitting pattern so I can knit more interesting items. I was thinking about some fingerless gloves that one of the ladies at the knitting circle showed me. She was using a much smaller yarn, which is what I have, so I know that it would work. The issue is that I have 3 skeins, about 1300 yards, and I don’t want to make 15 projects with the same yarn.

I started to ask questions about the pattern I chose to accommodate the yarn I bought at PIQF last year. I absolutely do not want stash yarn and loved the shawl, which I will knit to keep at work when the air conditioning gets to be too much. Apparently, the yarn is wrong for the pattern, so I needed to choose a new pattern.

The shop owner asked me to come back the next day as she was rushing to a board meeting. I went back the next day and she showed me how Ravelry works. It has a great feature where one can put in the difficulty of the project you want as well as yarn you have and the system will come back with projects that will work. I found a sweater that I like and will try.

I went back, again, the next day to talk to the sweater queen who didn’t really like the sweater construction,but was very kind and helpful.

It turns out I have been doing the stockinette stitch wrong. It didn’t matter when I was doing my own scarf pattern, but I would have to translate stitches, if I continued on knitting the way I was. Thus, I came home with videos to watch and knitting practice to do.

DIY with Fray Check

New Sheers - March 2019
New Sheers – March 2019

Last weekend we hung new sheers.

We had great sheers from Crate & Barrel that I loved. They were more than 20 years old and starting to rot from sun damage. They were a good investment, I think.

My old curtains had multi-colored dots on them and I really wanted more of the same. Of course, because everything must be new, that style was no longer available. I found some curtains with silver dots and decided those would work.

We had never hung a real curtain rod and had some sort of jerry rigged system using one of those curved rods and a bunch of nails. When we moved in the YM was 6 months old and we were a little busy.

Various finials we did NOT choose
Various finials we did NOT choose

Several months ago, I started looking at curtain rods. We have a corner window, so needed a system with a corner connector. There were a few, but the finials in all of these were TOO MUCH. They screamed “Welcome to my curtains”. That was absolutely what I did not want.

For this sort of shopping, at least for me, online shopping is sub-optimal. I need to see the size and finish of what I am looking at.

Living room finials
Living room finials

DH was home last Friday for Cesar Chavez Day, so we went out and looked at rods. In addition to the crazy finals, we found that the diameter of the rods was too big. We went out the next day, again, which is some sort of miracle because it was Saturday and we don’t shop well together. I tried to think of it as kind of like a date, though. We found a great, subtle rod at Target with a corner connector! We hadn’t even planned to go to Target, but we parked near it and stopped in. Their selection of curtain rods and hardware was pretty decimated, but we found a finial we liked. They had all the pieces and parts we needed, so we bought it and left.

DH doesn’t have much time at home, so I was planning to have our handy man put them up. DH started moving furniture and measuring on Sunday morning and spent a happy, I think, 3/4s day putting them up. I had to help him at various points, which was great, because he was getting it done. I knew there wouldn’t be another half finished home project in our garage.

Fray Check DIY
Fray Check DIY

This style of curtain rod has supports. We did not want to use the rings designed to work with these curtains, so we cut the back of the curtain rod pocket, sealed the edges with Fray Check and hung them up. Nobody will see the cuts.

I hadn’t used Fray Check in a long time. I was pleased that my bottle was still good. I used too much on the first one and it took forever to dry. I used a hair dryer to be sure it was dry. Otherwise, the whole project went relatively smoothly.

I am pleased with how the curtains came out except, because of the online shopping aspect, they are much less sheer than our other sheers. I would have preferred more sheer to let more light in, but done is better than perfect. Now that we have secure curtain rods up, we can change them more easily.

 

Really Finished: Purple Improv

Purple Improv Donation Back
Purple Improv Donation Back

It took me awhile to get the back for the Purple Improv donation quilt finished. It is now done and I, unexpectedly gave it to Tim at Sew Day yesterday.

Making the back was slightly delayed, because I couldn’t get my purple fabric bins. I don’t use purple that often, so they are slightly buried.

I did it a little differently this time. The top was on the design wall. Instead of pulling it off and using the design floor, I pinned fabrics from my stash to the design wall in the place I wanted to use them. This worked pretty well as I could see where I still needed coverage.

Finished: Improv Donation Top
Finished: Improv Donation Top

I didn’t think he would want to quilt the Purple Improv quilt, but he took both the Purple Strip quilt and this one to quilt. He is such a rock star.

Red Strip Donation Blocks

The Purple Improv donation top wasn’t even off the design wall before I started in on red scrap strip blocks, the next color in this unexpected series.

I have 15 more blocks to make, but they go fast and I have 3 in process at the moment.

There is something very satisfying about sitting at my sewing machine, grabbing strips and shards from a drawer right next to the machine and ending up with a quilt top. When I started the Green Thing, it was kind of a lark, an experiment to try the blocks that were inspired by Alison. Now this seems to be a whole project. It’s unexpected, but oddly satisfying.

More Progress on FOTY 2017

There are a lot of pieces to sew for FOTY 2017, but I have, slowly, but surely, been making progress. I thought I could finish the top this past weekend. Even if I hadn’t worked with DH to replace our horrendous jerry-rigged, 20+ year old living room curtain rod, I wouldn’t have had enough time. There are just too many seams.

FOTY 2017 - very early April 2019
FOTY 2017 – very early April 2019

I am not being super precious about placement this time. I would never have started if I held myself to that standard this time around. I do still tweak placement as I go along, for better or for worse.

I am really looking forward to the whole thing being together as I want to see if it looks like a skyline.

The creativity posts will resume at some point.

26 Projects 2019 #4

Finished 2019 Quilt Projects

Finished 2019 Non-Quilt Projects

This category covers bags, toys, aprons and knitting as well as other non-quilt projects.

Doing Good

  • Ends n.7 quilt top and back – finished 1/6/2019
  • Green Strips quilt top and back – finished 1/16/2019
  • Green Thing donation top and back – finished 2/2019
  • Libs Elliot donation top – finished 2/2019 – Cheryl actually did the quilting and the binding. She made me feel good by saying she really liked the quilt. I should try the technique using stripes instead of making stripes and see if I feel differently. I should do a lot of things.
  • Purple Improv donation quilt top – finished 3/2019
  • Purple Strips donation quilt top and back
  • Spiky Stars n.3 donation top and back – finished 3/2019

In Process
The ‘In Process’ is used to denote projects on which I am actively working or are on the design wall waiting for me to stitch. I try not to put away projects, because that will ensure I never work on them

  • FOTY 2017 – pieces cut. The pieces are back on the design wall and I am  almost finished sewing them together.
  • English Paper Piecing Project– half hexies – I have a big stack of stars ready to sew into the quilt. I am still thinking of my friend Faye whenever I work on it. She says that I have to think of this as my slow project.

Still WIPs
I still have WIPs. Who doesn’t, after all? A project in the ‘UFO’ category means I am stalled. A nicer way of saying UFO is a WIP. The list is a lot shorter and the projects are newer, for the most part.

  1. FOTY 2018 – this has to be on the list now as I have cut a ton of squares and need to arrange and sew it together. As I am still working on FOTY 2017, I haven’t made a start on this yet.
  2. Handbag Sampler – this is still the forgotten project. It should be on the UFO list. Too bad I don’t have one. The blocks were teaching samples when I taught a sampler class the time before I started writing the quilt class sampler tutorials. I found one block recently, but otherwise I actually don’t know exactly where the blocks are hiding. I have an idea and still have to crawl up in the far reaches of my fabric closet soon and see if I can find them. I haven’t even found a picture of all the blocks. Sad.
  3. Lobster – I still have more stitching to do and then I need to quilt it. Probably also a UFO, but it nags at me from the small design wall.
  4. Pies and Points from 2016 Victoria Findlay Wolfe class. The last time I worked on it was when Julie and I had a playdate in April 2018. I brought this piece with me so I could cut more elements (Julie has a Sizzix). I lost my excitement about this piece shortly thereafter and still have to get it back. Thus, I had to move this to the WIPs area.
  5. Pointillist Palette #4: Fourth is a series of 6 quilts; needs tiny square patches sewn together. No progress.
  6. Self Portrait: started in 2006 at a class at Quilting Adventures in Richmond, Virginia. I am still stalled on this again. As one of my oldest (I am pretty sure) UFO, I put it on my blog and out into the Twitterverse and Diane suggested that I not consider this as a self portrait. I think that strategy is a great idea. I am now trying to think of a new persona for her.
  7. Black and Red quilt – This came about because of two other projects. I made a whole bunch of bias tape as part of my failed attempt at doing the Mighty Lucky Club a few years ago. Another part of the inspiration came from my class with Tina of Little Blue Cottage fame. This was going to be for a nephew, but I think it will be for one of my SILs and BILs. I have rectangles cut and some bias tape ready. My next step is to sew the bias tape to the rectangles like pickup sticks. I don’t have any photos of this, so you’ll have to use your imagination.
  8. Who Am I? – This piece is up on my design and I keep meaning to work on it, but I haven’t. It requires a lot of satin stitching, but I don’t want it to end up like the Self-Portrait, so I’ll get to it sooner rather than later.

Small Projects in Process

Most of my progress involves thinking or just cutting.

  • 4-Zip Organizer – part of Crafty Gemini Organizer Club. It is on my list, but I haven’t actually started
  • Chubby Charmer with Good Fortune charm pack – gift; not started.
  • Mondo Bag – started laying out mini-charms
  • Retreat Organizer – another project from the Crafty Gemini Organizer Club, also on my list, but not yet started
  • Solid black cell phone wallet – The pieces are cut out and ready to sew, except that I misplaced the box with the pieces. Sigh.
  • Ultimate Project Organizer – another project from the Crafty Gemini Organizer Club, also on my list, but not yet started
  • White on black dots cell phone wallet – The pieces are cut out and ready to sew, except that I misplaced the box with the pieces. Sigh.

Ready for Quilting

In Quilting Process

  • BAMaQG IRR –I have been working on this lately and am making progress. It is slow since it is hand quilting. I might add some more machine quilting to the project to move it along
  • City Sampler was taken to Colleen on 2/26/2019.
  • Theoretically, the Tarts Come to Tea is still in the quilting process, though I haven’t worked on it in a while. Mom said she is really looking forward to me finishing it, which might be the incentive I need to get back to work on it.

Binding

Nothing now.

Hunting and Gathering

  • 30 Something: I continue to cut 1.5 inch squares. I am pretty sure I have the 800 I need, but I am not ready to sew them together yet, so whenever I have a chance to cut more, I cut more. It will give me choice when the time comes. I looked at whether I could start piecing this, but I found I need to cut some other sizes. I got those sizes on the cutting sheet and have a cut a few. I need over 600 of a size something like 1.75×3.75. I need some more accessory boxes to organize these new pieces. I’ll have to think up a new name for this quilt, too, since I am not using 1930s fabrics.
  • Blue Gradation Quilt: cutting 2.5 inch x 4.5 inch blue rectangles. It has to end sometime. I wasn’t sure I was ready to put this together, but I think I might be. I might do a couple of gradation quilts in a row just to get the practice.
  • Blue Lemonade: cutting blue, green, purple 2 inch squares. I used a lot of these squares for En Provence.
  • FOTY 2019: I decided to cut 2.5 inch squares again for the 2019 version.
  • Pink Gradation Quilt: cutting 2.5 inch x 4.5 inch pink rectangles
  • Spin Wheel: really not started, but supplies gathered. I might have to cut some more background fabrics. I probably have enough fabrics and just need to decide to start.
  • Windmill quilt: Still hunting and gathering. I am supposed to be cutting a variety of greys for the background, which required the purchase of a new template. Cutting is very therapeutic, so I should try and do it when I have a few minutes, but not a lot of time.

Other

Gross usage is down a little bit, because I bought a small amount of fabric. I am at 54.5 yards gross and 40 yards net YTD . Some of this is  fabric that I will be donating to the free table. Still, it won’t be here so I don’t need to store it. It is still early in the year so I am hoping I can still use 100 yards of fabric net. I’ll need to get some quilts finished.

What’s on your list?

Purple Improv Donation Top Finished

After many hours of sewing and listening to audiobooks on Sunday, I finished the Purple Improv top. I have been enjoying it on my design wall for a few days, because I couldn’t make the back right away.

Finished: Improv Donation Top
Finished: Improv Donation Top

There are a lot of small pieces in this quilt. As much as I could, I pressed the seams open to reduce bulk. This caused some issues with sewing. As I trimmed shards, I gained holes and had to be careful to make sure they were fixed before I moved on. I think I like the medallion style of the Green Thing better. I saw improv-ish quilt blocks by @saija_elina and thought, perhaps I would use that idea for another one of these scrap busters. I am not sure I want to make blocks, however.

I am not a huge fan of the T motif that ended up on the quilt, but c’est la vie. That is improv and that is what happens. Perhaps someone with a name that starts with a T will become the owner?

Red Strip Donation Quilt

The red scrap drawer is overflowing so red strips are next. I made 5 of the strip blocks on Sunday night and 3 more yesterday.

One thing I noticed is that I have a lot of dots on red background prints. They are different, but I am trying to keep them separated by other fabrics so they don’t flow into each other. I also get to visit with some fabrics I didn’t have much of, but really liked.

The size of the scraps in my scrap drawer is kind of crazy. I don’t know what I was thinking putting such large (half a FQ-ish) into the scrap drawer. Of course, I don’t have anywhere else to put that size, so I guess it makes sense. I’ll have to cut some of the scraps into sizes I need for other projects as I work on these donation quilts.