Thursday, October 26, 2017

Frances

On a very sad note, my 98 year old mother-in-law, Frances, who has been living in Memory Care for a year, and under Hospice the last few months, last Thursday had an unwitnessed fall.  She apparently hit her head and left knee, but was otherwise visibly unhurt.  However, she became short of breath later that day and then unresponsive overnight.  Hospice staff put her to bed on oxygen and morphine and monitored her.  She passed away on Sunday morning, 10/22/17, having never regained consciousness.  

Frances (98) and granddaughter Erica , May 2017
A tough old Swede, Frances had bounced back so many times, it was a shock to everyone.  She had expressed many times over the past few years, though,  that she was "ready to go" and wondered "why the Lord didn't take her".  She is rejoined now with those she loved and missed who preceded her, including her husband Marion,  all her siblings, her parents, and many friends.  We will celebrate her long life with family and friends at a service in a couple of weeks.  Rest in Peace, Fran, you  were loved and will be missed.

Thursday Again

We in SoCalif have survived a sweltering few days of record-breaking heat.  It was 97, 106, 104, 103, and finally today only reached the upper 80s.  At least the humidity has been low, making it possible to still move around without feeling like you were dying.  Our recently acquired room air conditioner has made sleeping possible. A little sewing has been happening, for the retreat trip departure a week from today.  Two volunteer sign up projects are due at check in--a blind swap project with another attendee, and a challenge using provided Michael Miller fabrics (selections from In Bloom, by Sandra Clemons, and two solids).

For the swap project, I originally was going to complete an in-progress small quilt that needed a bit more machine quilting and then binding.  But while browsing at the Cotton and Chocolate quilt shop, I came across a sale bin and came home with a new idea from a Fig Tree & Co pattern.  Solids pulled from the fat quarter dresser and some Kona Snow were quickly prepped and cutting ensued.

There were so many pieces for this block (28) I needed a cutting breakdown!

I had never seen a house block like this and loved the different chimney and path parts. 

I kept the "grass" pieces, though trimmed them down.  Eliminating sashing made it more modern.  Basting, batting, backing...hmm, this tune is familiar.  

The challenge project had me experimenting unsuccessfully with scraps last week, so I went bigger.  

Drunkard's Path blocks cut at 6.5" left plenty of the prints showing after piecing.

A few rounds of switcheroo led to this layout.  I liked all the curves and color, and sewed it up this morning before work.

I'll use the remaining fat quarters for the backing and binding.  There is a lot to get done before the retreat, and my typical last minute finishes are not helping calm the stress.   I need to spend some time making lists--I love checking off items. Wish me luck!👍

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Working and Playing

Though not blogging, I've been busy, including in the sewing room.  The baby quilt I showed last time is now a completed top.  Pattern is Signed, Sealed, Delivered from APQ mag April 2017.  I left off the two borders.

It went together nicely and I'm happy with the color placement.  Unfortunately, the fabric I had bought for the backing was not quite long or wide enough for quilt sandwich purposes, so some surgery was necessary.  Luckily I had purchased enough of the pink background fabric to extend the backing as well as for the binding. Sometimes I am smart enough to buy extra, generally MATH is a struggle!

I drew out several designs but liked this arrangement best.  The print is a Valori Wells design.  I'm pondering quilting designs but will likely go with a very simple channel quilting. 

My Dad and his fraternal twin had a big birthday and while at the party, my Uncle asked how I did with my quilts at the Fair, so I showed him photos on my phone.  I asked if he had a quilt for his bed at his senior living place, and he shook his head. I've been making 4 patches as leader-enders for Naragansett Blues by Bonnie Hunter, but having few blue fabrics in stash or scraps, hadn't decided on an alternate.  Luckily, he is fond of brown so I went home and pulled all the browns and some black prints from my fat quarter drawer, happy to have a direction and destination for this squirrel project.  I cut a bunch into bricks with my Accuquilt GO cutter, loving that I had the right size die. 
 I laid out a few of the bricks and 4 patches as a test and think this will work.  My neutrals are white to tan and don't seem to be getting lost in the browns. 
My version will be smaller than designer Bonnie Hunter's, but just as scrappy.  The quilt is constructed in vertical rows, so I'll need to count carefully to make sure I have enough of the 4 patches, bricks and squares for my plan.  

Sewtopia in NOLA is coming up quickly and I wanted a special project for my very first quilting retreat.  I have itched to make a word quilt for ages and the Simple Shapes alphabet by Laura Hartrich, found in the Winter 2017 Modern Patchwork magazine was my starting point.  Last night I drew and sketched and graphed to the wee hours and think I've got a good plan. (FYI: Link to designer is for her sampler quilt that includes the upper case letters)

I'll be using Drunkard's Path templates from Jen Carlton-Baily in the 3" finished size.  My first two sketches made a quilt that was too large and required hundreds more background squares than I was willing to sew up.  Looking through the magazine again, the designer showed a word quilt without spacing between the letters, and that was the key to my final layout. 


The words will be colored prints and solids, and of course the shamrock will be greens.  I plan to use lots of different neutrals and leftover block parts for fun in the background, and will mix plain and pieced squares.  I hope to complete the twin-size quilt top at the retreat, which will necessitate doing a lot of  auditioning,  cutting and sewing over the next 10 days.  Back to the sewing room, then!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Design Wall Monday--Oct 9

On my design floor today is a baby quilt I'm making. It's for my daughter's friend and she requested a more minimalist design. I showed the fabrics a couple of posts ago, but hadn't chosen a background.  That required a shopping trip, so after work Friday I headed to the local fabric store, and pulled a few bolts.  
 I loved this text print the best, but DD thought it was too busy.

She also didn't choose the Grunge fabric in white. 

Thumbs up was given to the solid pink Kona (Flesh).  It's a warmer toned very light pink.  I washed and ironed everything and got cutting and sewing Sunday.  Since, as usual, I deviated from the pattern (Signed, Sealed, Delivered, APQ mag April 2017), I made a cheat sheet for the pieces I needed.  Cutting was pretty simple and I got right to piecing.  

The chisel-shaped pieces required marking, slicing, and trimming, and I wish I could have figured a way to skip that step, but there weren't that many to do, after all.  Before I knew it, all the block pieces were ready to be laid out.
I've sewn up two complete rows and anticipate finishing the top in another couple of hours' worth of stitching.  I'm skipping the borders and will probably bind it in the pink to keep the stars floating.  The other item on the design wall couldn't be more different in contrast.  This is the monthly challenge block from our MQG, in which we drew two crayons at random. 

I lucked out in getting these two colors since I love that green and had plenty of scraps.  If the crayon had been pink or blue I'd have had a more difficult time!  I sliced and diced and cobbled together enough slabs for a 12.5" block.  Making fabric takes time, but it's kinda fun.  I keep chunks and strips in a separate scrapbook drawer tower and it's surprising how often I dip into them for something.  

See more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Monday, October 2, 2017

October Already

Time flies whether we like it or not, and the last of September disappeared in a puff.  I didn't seem to get much of anything done in the sewing room last week--the backing for the Moda Love quilt is still laying across the cutting board awaiting finishing, I have several Must Do projects to complete in the next four weeks that I haven't even started, and I'm no further along on the UFO pick  for last month--which was a crash and burn due to MATH.  Judy picked #6 for October, so add Pinwheel Garden project to the pile. 

I am very lucky to have such problems, with all the destruction, pain and sorrow, fear and loss happening in the world daily.  Grateful my loved ones are safe and well and hope to keep them so, and yours too, dear readers! 

Some fabric play did happen, though, continuing to work on pieces stitched on National Sew a Jelly Roll day, which needed to be cut into 2.5" sections for 4 patches for Jewel Box blocks.

I found it easiest to pair up two strip sets RST and cut the subsections, then peel the like pieces apart and match them up.  I'd sew up a batch or two of the 4 patches in between cutting, to keep the monotony down. 

There are two 4 patches per block, and 64 blocks total for the quilt.   Lotta sewing and pressing still to go. Another task was to finish sliver trimming all the HST pairs for the blocks.  Look at all the yummy colors...


I used my Block-Lock trimmer to do all 64 pairs.  Glad that job is done! 


Sunday I watched my grandsons and we had a grand time in the playroom.

 Action shot of Cove.

 Action shot of Hunter.

 Well, I guess with toddlers they are all action shots!

They have gotten a lot of use out of the teepee since I made it for Cove's first birthday.  While Hunter napped I tried to get some hand sewing on quilt binding done, but a 3 year old wanted to sit in my lap and investigate everything in my sewing kit multiple times.  I may have stitched 12" or so during all this, lol.  DH Grant joined us later.   Precious times with these little boys, we treasure them.