Monday, July 18, 2016

Design Wall Monday--More Cocoa

Off my design floor is Cocoa Baskets;  progress has been pretty straight line--there are no quilts jumping ahead at the moment!  I got all the vertical rows completed late last week except for some half-blocks.  Saturday  my sister called and we went to the local quilt shop where I unexpectedly found the perfect sashing fabric.  I thought I wanted green but when I saw this Nancy Gere print, it seemed a good fit.

The scale of the stars is just right.  Serendipity! I bought 2 yards to allow for shrinkage and to avoid having to piece the sashing, which I cut for 5" finished width.  I also completed the four half blocks to finish the rows.  The top went together easily and just before it got too dark, DH held it up for me to photograph.

I'm happy with how my abbreviated version of the pattern turned out (Cocoa Baskets, McCall's Quilting Sept/Oct 2010).  I'll use the remainder of the sashing fabric and whatever else I can turn up from stash for backing.  

See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tuesday's Orts--MQG version

Tuesday's Orts--bits of thoughts and events that land here occasionally.  This one is quilt heavy!
  • The Modern Quilt Guild I belong to has some very talented members.  This was much in evidence for a quilt swap I joined in a few months ago.  Last year we did a Round Robin, this year it was a Row Robin.  Eight members submitted a beginning row and fabrics to accompany the row along with a preference sheet.  Each month we passed along a completed row and got another quilt top to work on, all modern in style--a real stretch of the brain!  Four rounds later, the tops were done and we had our reveal last night.  Here's mine: 

The Improv half-log cabin blocks on the left end were my starter row and I included all solid fabrics for the other stitchers to play with; I requested a minimum of black be used.  Wow, what a great job they all did!  I love the way the quilt is more red on one half and more teal on the other. Many thanks to the four wonderful ladies who worked on my top: Kathy M, Joyce, Barbara, and Kim.  I'm thinking another row of the Improv blocks at the bottom might be a fun way to finish off the quilt top, but haven't decided. These were from a workshop I took at QuiltCon in February 2016 with Heather Jones--my blocks are on the wall in a photo she shows on her blog!
  • I had a good workout on all four of the tops that passed through my hands.  The final one was Barbara's.  In this case, her starter row didn't stay as an end row; she sewed the dark gray blocks with the Improv triangle corners.
My thoughts upon getting this top were that it needed yet another style of triangle to finish it off.  I added the TriRec triangles at the bottom (for size reference, my TriRecs were 3x6")

Look how different they all were.  I'm hoping to join in yet another such quilting adventure next year to practice more hallmarks of modern quiltmaking including improv piecing, negative space, high contrast, and alternate gridwork.
  • My sister Kathy's Row Robin didn't fit in the above photo I stole from the guild's Flickr
Kathy used some gorgeous Burma silks she'd bought at a quilt show, but found out that they were not colorfast AFTER she made her starter row.  That beautiful deep teal blue turned gray!  So this quilt will have to be dry-cleaned.  Her starter row is the second from the right; I added the first round, which ended up as the center row on the completed top.  What a great job everyone did repeating certain elements and bringing it all together as a whole. 
  • Our guild is making a quilt for the Orlando Pulse Club victims and families.  We will send our heart quilt with love for those devastated by this senseless killing of so many.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Cocoa Baskets Progress

What bliss to spend a weekend piecing blocks on this old UFO, Cocoa Baskets.  Saturday afternoon I came home from watching grandson Hunter and got the few needed basket blocks fused to the backgrounds and blanket stitched, and cut out the remaining Churn Dash blocks.  That left the 9 patches to pull together this morning before layout. 

After I took this photo above I realized I had yet to trim the basket blocks down to size.  A rotating cutting mat is indispensable for this task, so glad I bought one a few years ago with a 50% off coupon. There are four partial 9 patch blocks yet to assemble.  I wanted to wait to choose their colors once the vertical rows were decided upon. 

There will be sashing between the vertical rows, so this is not a final top size,  but I ran into a snag almost immediately.  Can you see the wart in this layout?  Sticking out by a mile is that low volume 9 patch which I pieced so long ago.  It had to go. There was a bit of switcheroo of other blocks for some balance. 
The wart removed and replaced, the blocks were stacked and labeled for assembly.  I'll add the partial blocks later.  I'm liking this a lot and can't wait to get the rows together.  Then there will be a decision about sashing.  The original pattern used a fabric that was solid with a star print fussy cut for the sashing.  I'm leaning toward using a solid or a "printed plain" with just a bit of texture.  I do think it needs to be a color and not a neutral.  It will be another puzzle to play with but I'm leaning towards a deep green. I have a stripe to make a bias binding from, which I think will look great.

Tonight while Grant was cooking dinner, I brought out my patriotic quilts and decor and the house is ready for festivities for the Fourth.  We'll likely go to my parents' house as usual and enjoy the fireworks show for free from the backyard while visiting with family and friends.  I can hear fireworks going off in the neighborhood as I type this. Have a happy and safe Fourth, those who celebrate!  I'll be playing with this little flag from leftover HSTs I stitched last year.  Another UFO that needs a finish!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

UFOs and Grands

A mixed bag once again this post.  After I showed the High Cotton quilt top finish a couple of weeks ago, I'm sorry to say it remains a top. Backing fabric I'd chosen had some unacceptable flaws and a small hole so I'm at a stall until I choose something else from stash.  

In my desire to keep the UFOs moving, I turned to my Hoosier cabinet and picked Cocoa Baskets, from McCall's Quilting Sept/Oct 2010.  That's right, this project could start first grade this year!  

Luscious greens and dark reds and a couple of browns were selected for this sort of primitive designed row quilt by Sarah Maxwell and Dolores Smith (Homestead Hearth Quilts) who used black, tobacco, and dark browns.  I did make a change to the pattern as I prefer the Churn Dash block I made here rather than the Shoo-Fly type.  I also am making fewer blocks for a smaller quilt.  The project hit UFO status when I could not decide how to finish the appliqued basket quilts and ran out of background fabrics. Having just reorganized my fabric, it was easy to choose from the Repro drawer.  

These three new basket blocks will get brown buttonhole stitching like I quickly decided on for their 6 year old siblings; another three are in the wings ready to be fused to backgrounds for the total of 12 basket blocks I need.   A few more 9 patches and Churn Dashes and assembly can begin. 

This morning after breakfast I'll be spending a few hours with this little grandson while his Dada takes big brother to the beach.

 Here Hunter is inspecting Auntie Erica's fingernails a couple of weeks ago on Father's Day.

And looking like a little Tough in his cutoff shorts and serious face while Great-Auntie Kathy holds him (the spit bubble offsets that, lol).  He is now giggling at big brother and is a smiley boy most often.  Both boys have sort of hazel eyes, not quite brown.  I lightened up this pic to try to show that. Their Mama was hoping one boy would get their dad's blue eyes, but nope!

Big Brother Cove giving thumbs up on the family's recent trip to visit friends in SanFran.  The monkey-covered headphones are pretty funny.  Hunter is pleasing his parents by sleeping through the night since before he was four months old, and Cove is now potty-training like a champ at 2 years 4 months.  We are so lucky to see them often and treasure these times.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Design Wall Monday--and some sewing room KonMari

Off my design wall is my version of "High Cotton", from Kim Diehl's Simple Comforts book series.  A completed top is such a wonderful stage to get to!

I did manage to make things a little more difficult for myself in the assembly.  Apparently early in the block-making portion (2 years ago!), although the book instructions said to press the away from the center row, I had decided to press the seams in one direction.  But I forgot about that on later blocks and pressed as directed.  Then when I put together the block rows, I re-pressed every other block's seams towards the center for nesting purposes.  However, on the alternate rows, which are turned to make the chains zig-zag, I had to press the single errant seam back away from the center.  I think I had to re-press 90% of the blocks!   But in the end all the seams nested and the chains came together nicely.  My aim was to copy Kim's unique use of brights and zingers with the quieter repros.  What do you think?

See More Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times. 

There was also more KonMari-ing in the sewing room--thread was the next subcategory.  I'd already been through my machine sewing thread in a previous sewing room reorganization but there were dozens of these in various places that needed to be gone through:
All of these vintage wooden thread spools!  This is an amalgamation of my Grandma's and my mother-in-law's sewing stuff.  I ran into a giant snag in this effort as the collection probably really resides in the "Sentimental" or keepsake category, which is the last and hardest category in KonMari Method.  I dilly-dallied looking up the thread company information and age of the spools, sorting them into manufacturer and by size.  I was also distracted by vintage promotional sewing kits I found in my mother-in-law's stuff.  Another rabbit hole!

 I wonder if the Perma-Kurl Beauty Shop still exists in Oakland, NE, my MIL's hometown?

This was a famous old casino and is now the site of Harrah's casino (I think).  I don't know if my MIL actually visited the casino, as it appears she picked up this promotional giveaway item in Omaha, NE, where she lived and worked before moving to California in the late 1940's.  There is a Facebook page for the Wagon Wheel Saloon and I saw a photo of memorials to the owners listed on the back.

 I'm pretty sure no one mends hosiery anymore!

My intention with the wooden spools all along was to use them decoratively and I had fun choosing as many as I liked to fill this thread holder.  the bottom row is full of Belding Corticelli silk thread and silk buttonhole twist bobbins, love them! Some of the rack's spindles are broken but that's not bothering me at the moment, I can always get another rack.