Saturday, June 22, 2019

June Gloom and Sewing Room

Typically in Southern California, low clouds and fog hug the coast in the morning and burn off in the early afternoon.  No so for the past week or so--it has been socked in all day, living up to the June Gloom title.  While that means we don't need to get out our room air conditioning unit yet, it makes for long days with no sun!  It has been easy to stay in the sewing room with this weather. 

I think I have finally made enough of the Chunky Churndash blocks to move on to the alternate hourglass block.  For that I will have to confer with my Dad about what colors to use. The dark red print I bought during the Coastal Quilt Run may appeal to him.  One thing I noticed about Bonnie's free pattern (available at is that no yardage measurements were given for the alternate blocks or the borders!  I'm sure I can figure it out but it would have been nice to have a starting point--my version will have more blocks and less border.  I will use her Essential Triangle tool to cut the quarter-square triangles from strips instead of the usual  big squares cut twice in an X.  

Some slow stitching has also been happening on the Blackwork embroidery I am making for my sister. 
 The first of four panels is now complete.  Once all are stitched, I will set them into a small quilt per the pattern.

My version will be much scrappier, though, as the Civil War prints drawer is absolutely jammed full.

I took a couple of days off to join my husband on his vacation week.  We had a late breakfast invitation today from daughter Elaine and grandson Hunter, and afterwards we did a bit of shopping and then drove up into the hills above downtown.  
This whole area was burned in the Thomas Fire in December 2017 and the cross was damaged. A lot of work has gone into re-landscaping and reviving the area, which is called Grant Park.

Lots of new plantings with an emphasis on native plants.  None of this was here when Grant and I were married at the cross decades ago.

 I captured some folks getting their group photo in my attempt to photograph our pier and coastline looking to the southwest. 

Though it was overcast we were still able to see our Channel Islands off the coast.  The big gray paved area on the far left is our Fairgrounds parking area.  The Fair begins at the end of next month, which means there will need to be a lot more time in the sewing room if I want to enter anything!  I told my sister I have 8 quilt tops in the closet...

Monday, June 17, 2019

Design Wall Monday: Blocks Everywhere

Design Wall Monday: See more blogs on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts.  

Sewing time was sketchy this past week but I did get a few things done. The block for the pizza box swap for guild was finished on time but I ended up not going to the meeting on Monday and then received two more pizza boxes the next day, so now I have a stack of three.  The next recipient will likely not be pleased to receive three at once--perhaps I'll parcel them out over the month, lol. 

Sarah's box included a thick card catalog of block designs and I chose this 12" windmill block.  There were no instructions other than the size of pieces to cut for one's desired block size, but it went together easily--without any chopped off points, too, yay.

More Chunky Churn Dash blocks for my Dad's quilt were added to the piles.  I now have over 40 made and need at least 60.
Stripes and dots and tiny prints--I'm having a ball playing in the scraps.  I'll need to figure yardage for the alternate block and any borders. 

There were some test  blocks made for the newlywed's quilt, Dreamweaver, as well.  Since I am enlarging the quilt to throw size I do not want to cut 1000 2.5" blocks for the background, which is made up of Disappearing 9 patch blocks.  

On the right is the DP9 made from the pattern specification of 2.5" squares that finishes at 6"; the left block is from 5" squares, finishing at 12", and the middle block from 3.5" squares, finishing at 9".  I'm happy with the middle block's size as it is not too large in proportion to the appliqued dreamcatcher that will come later. Tester pieces came from stash and not the grouping that will be used in their quilt.  

Some more Log Cabin Loonie blocks are moving along.  I'm about halfway done with the 80 I want for my layout.  

I'm using 1.5" strips precut to sizes for each round.  My blocks will finish at 7.5", an odd size, but it won't matter--the quilt will end up whatever size it ends up!

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Busy Times, Lucky Times

Plenty of activity going on outside of the sewing room--I've only managed to sew four blocks this week--as a test for the newlywed's quilt.  Our older daughter and family are mid-move, their new home is not quite ready with the renovations they are doing (kitchen tile just went down yesterday!), and they have to be out of their current house by tomorrow. Luckily her mother-in-law and her husband have plenty of room for them to stay until it is ready.  We've been helping with childcare and had a grand time with the boys yesterday at our house for a few hours.  They are in constant motion at 3 and 5, and of course are  always in need of snacks. All of us have fingers-crossed for no hiccups in the completion of renovations.

In other news, I was the very lucky winner of JanetO's blogversary giveway--she had to draw three times for an eligible entry.  The package arrived with interesting lumps and bumps.  Mini was present for the grand unveiling.

Mini immediately laid claim to the mini quilt...

 ...all innocent in her actions.  Look at the impossibly tiny binding! See the 6" ruler there to the right of the quilt.

Janet included some very lovely handmade soaps, package of pins, thread and notebook with her lovely card.  I'm very thankful to be the new owner of this eensy charm quilt and will treasure it. 

I unpacked all the fabric treasure from the Quilt Run and feasted my eyes on all the loot on the cutting table.  
Most of these pieces had to be put in a box as I cannot stuff any more fat quarters in my drawers!

Some of the packaged badges the quilt shops gave out, so fun.  For completing the Quilt Run we were entered in a Grand Prize drawing but neither of us won. We did get a lovely pair of small scissors at the final shop.  

Off to sew now, I have a block to sew for our pizza box block swap due tomorrow, and two baby quilts to finish and turn in.  Nothing like the last minute....

Monday, June 3, 2019

Design Wall Monday--Central Coast Quilt Shop Tour

On my Design Floor is a small project started at a late hour.  My sister and I talked about doing the Central Coast Quilt Shop Tour but didn't finalize plans until late.  We were happy to be welcome to stay with longtime friends/neighbors overnight on Saturday at their new house. I rummaged through my box of Unfinished Small Projects and came across a baggie of pinned four patch blocks for a mini quilt  to give as a housewarming gift. 

It sewed up fairly quick and I snapped a pic to send my sister Kathy.  Mini performed QC but missed the twisted block ( now marked with an X).  Grr, the chain was broken.  I got the block unpicked and resewn and located an appropriate backing, however decided the wee hours were not a good time to attempt quilting.  It will be stitched up soon.

Our first stop was Superbuzzy in town on Friday night, where we plotted the next day's tour, deciding to start with the Old Town Quilt Shop in Orcutt. 

Someone made this great sign with all the shops for a photo op.  Somehow it looks like we are in the back seat and no one is driving this car, haha.  Kathy downloaded an app that supposedly planned the route but the amount of colorful euphemisms from Kathy that this program created provided me more entertainment than help at times.  

Best quote of the day from Kathy, regarding my XM Radio station '70s soft Rock choice on the drive: "You're going to have to go up a decade or two if you want me to stay awake". 😁

We also visited Picking Daisies, The Quiltery, Quilters Cupboard, and The Creation Station, then headed to Pismo Beach area to our friends' place.  It was fun to catch up with them and share our treasures.  I concentrated on picking up background fabrics for the quilt for the newlyweds.  

These are the fabrics Nick and Ashley picked out at Superbuzzy for the Dream Weaver quilt.  The pattern is for a small quilt, only 40x55" or so, but I assured Ashley the background could be enlarged--it is made from Disappearing Nine Patches. 

Here are a bunch I hope may work with their choices. Most of the backgrounds are white, but I did add a few cream and colored options. 

I spent more this trip than I have ever, but I saw so many fabrics I liked and also stocked up on neutrals that were lacking in my stash. I bought bolt ends and clearance fabrics, but also plenty of full price yardage. It is my wish for brick and mortar stores to stay open, and that means supporting them.  
See more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Wedding Reception

Here's a few pics of our son Nick and new daughter-in-law Ashley's lovely, low key family style reception at her parents' beach house.  They worked so very hard to get the house and yard ready for their guests!  In the front courtyard guests were greeted with this:

I never learned who made the beautiful driftwood/beach rock art piece for them.

Inside, the living room wall displayed photos of both Nick and Ashley from baby to present.

The clips had their ages marked, so fun to see what they looked like at the same ages--and as a couple now.

Many of our family members at the table...

..with the next bride-to-be getting bunny ears from her little brother!

Here the bride's father is giving his speech for the newlyweds.  Grant and I, my brother, and several of Ashley's relatives also said many kind things and gave hopes and wishes for the future. 
 Ashley got a little emotional during her speech...

Happy to be joined together and celebrating with people who love them.

We're only missing brother Kevin from this family portrait--he had to leave early to catch a flight. My CK flowered dress stood up well to the day.  I made four cream cheese pies for the dessert table--which disappeared in record time!

 The couple on the dock, prepared to sail away in the channel.

 Ashley hamming it up in the Captain's hat. 

 Her dad made the "Recently Married" sign, so funny.  Many guests took the cue and left but a lot of family members stayed a bit to help clear up and we got to know them more.
It was a lovely day and we are so happy to have another family to join.  We wish Nick and Ashley a long and happy married life. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

More Sewing

After our busy family weekend with the newlyweds' celebrations--to be detailed in a separate post--I got back to the sewing room to play with pieces and parts for more Chunky Churn Dash blocks for my Dad's quilt (free Pattern by Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville).

I'm having so much fun with all my scraps and rail sets.  Shirtings, dots, plaids, traditional and brights all play together. 

This one had to have repeat surgery--I sewed the top row on upside-down not once but twice!

I like to sew them up in batches of six blocks, makes it easy to lay them out on the cutting mat and not have to spend too much time sitting to sew or standing to iron. I'm probably going to use blue and cream for the hourglass alternate blocks--my Dad likes blue. Bonnie's design calls for 60 Churn Dash blocks, 61 alternate hourglass blocks, and she has three borders to make the quilt finish just under 80" square.  I may just add more blocks and eliminate the two narrow borders.

The rain was falling to the northeast and there was some thunder and a few drops of rain this afternoon.  I took this photo after lunch hour. 

The leading edge sure made the sky beyond so blue. While we worried that rain would spoil the wedding reception, the terrible weather predictions for other parts of the country soon played out.   My sympathies to all those who have been flooded or had tornado strike damagest, the pictures on the news are devastating. 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Chunky Churn Dash

I previously posted about my Dad needing a replacement for the Turning Twenty Quilt I made him in 2007 HERE.  I'm just getting around to sewing up pieces and parts I've since collected and cut for the Chunky Churn Dash quilt (free pattern by Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville).  This is my favorite kind of quiltmaking--piecing, sewing, cutting, and more sewing :)

The stacks on the left are the four rail pieced and cut sections--all made from scraps and stash from 1.5" strips.  I cut a bunch of 2.5" neutral center squares and some colored center squares for variety--as well as sets of 4  2.5" print squares for the corners of the churn dash blocks. 

I played with a few block layouts before heading to work this afternoon.  It will be fun to mix and match as I go.  There are lots more 2.5" squares to pull for the number of blocks I plan to make.  Today when I was at my parents' house, I told my Dad that I was making him a new quilt and he was very happy.  He said, "I miss my old quilt", and I asked what happened to it, and he said he didn't know where it was.     Mom and I went on a search and it turned up on the guest bed under the down comforter.  Although a bit threadbare, it was still functional.  I have a feeling he will steal it back to use until I get the new one made!

Meanwhile, final preparations are being made for the wedding reception this weekend for our son Nick and his bride, Ashley, who exchanged rings in a private ceremony performed by my brother last Sunday.  We are all crossing our fingers that the rain and cold wind now predicted will be much less forceful when the day arrives.  The couple and I went shopping at Superbuzzy for fabric for their quilt and I've ordered the Jen Kingwell pattern, Dreamweaver (designed by Michelle McKillop).  It's an advanced pattern with a pieced background and a medallion and streamers appliqued on top.  I'm excited to get started on that one too.  Never a dull moment around here!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Time Flies

Didn't mean to lag between posts so long, but time is flying by fast.  I have been doing  little bit of sewing--a very little bit.  My sister returned the Falling Charms quilt and I got the binding made but not yet attached. 

She free-motioned the swirls on her longarm, but said it took her two hours to get the longarm working well after it had been sitting idle for over a month.  The binding is an old Concord Fabrics print from stash--I have no recollection of when or where I acquired it. 

The colors go very well with the charms in the quilt.  I'm hoping to give this to the intended recipients this weekend at our annual Mother's Day brunch.   

Our son Nick's wedding is rapidly approaching and there are things to do.  I was tasked with pulling photos for a display at the reception--Oh what a rabbit hole that is, getting out boxes of pictures!  It was easy to find solo pics of Nick as a baby, but much harder in the later years.  We took annual Christmas photos for many years and there are lots of those, and of other family gatherings, but not so many of just him, particularly as a teen.

I'm going to guess this photo of a bunch of cousins was taken on Mother's Day 1998, based on the youngest baby in the picture, our niece Emma, who is being held by Nick on the far left.  The darling blondie girl on the far right is getting married this year too, niece Anya.

A few years later the house had changed color but Denis, our dear departed orange and white cat, still favored the porch.  The yellow coreopsis flowers looking so lush here inspired me to buy a few to plant now.  The purple Mexican sage in the background was planted the year we moved in and it is still alive and flourishing. Daughter Erica looks like she has a bunny tail there where the sun is hitting her! Erica has been too busy to come over and play with her placemat fabrics we bought...

...but Erica's boyfriend Ryan had picked out a few fabrics in the sewing room for me to make him this coaster.  It is an easy 5" charm square project with only 5 charms needed.  A wine glass can be inserted in the center where the folded charms meet.

I used green on the back as its his favorite color too.  Meanwhile, future daughter-in-law and I have been messaging ideas for their quilt and plan to do some fabric shopping this weekend. Can't wait!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Design Wall Monday: Twilight Hopscotch finish

Its Design Wall Monday!  Off my design floor is the Twilight Hopscotch quilt.  I added a full row of blocks to Kim Diehl's original layout, requiring yet more cutting and sewing sewing sewing (interspersed with a bit of ripping, boo).  I'm happy to show the finished top today.  

The outer border design continues the chains, which I just love.  Fingers crossed that I have just enough of the star fabric to bind the quilt.  The pattern, from her Simple Comforts book, called for 8 strips of binding...I have 8 1/2 strips.  The top currently is roughly 62x80" so on paper it looks doable. 

Daughter Erica and I went dress shopping for her brother's upcoming wedding. The wide variety of sizes in dresses between manufacturers makes for quite a guessing game amid the racks.  The couple wants to wear light colors for picture taking, so that adds a focus for the search, though neither of us found a suitable option this outing.  Erica has asked me to make new placemats for some time, so we went into Joann's afterwards to look at fabric.  She fell in love with a precut roll's mauve print, to which we were unable to find a match in yardage.  Nor was there a single bolt of fabric with that exact color in it!

We bought two jelly rolls so she can at least have one or two strips in each placemat.  I looked through my fat quarters when I got home and found only ONE fabric in my stash that was complementary---the bottom one in the photo.  We did find a very nice dark purple print for the binding and backing.  The neverending list of things to make keeps my sewing room busy!  I'm not mad :)