Wednesday, July 31, 2019

What I'm Working on Wednesday--July Ends

Well this has been a busy month, it seemed to last a good long time because of that.  We have been lucky out here in SoCalif that the summer weather has been typical for us, morning low clouds and fog burning off by late morning or early afternoon, mid-upper 70's at the beach with a nice breeze, just a bit warmer inland.  We'll try to remember these good times when the heat and humidity are likely to show up in August and September!   

I  haven't spent much time in the sewing room yet this week, but there was some slow stitching accomplished this Wednesday.

I finished the Blackwork Slave Quarters panel I was working on--finally.  I have one of the two remaining panels already traced out and will commence with that immediately.  

Caught this checkmark in the sky over the weekend, it was an appropriate symbol for another accomplished task, sanding down the doors to our bathroom vanity in preparation for paint.  It did take almost 20 minutes to find the palm sander, however, as it was buried under my husband's workbench.  It took another two days before we got to Lowe's to get more paint, the can used to do the other bathroom vanity having been purchased in 2013!  The people-watching at home improvement stores is pretty good, though, so we didn't mind.  

Further consultation with the newlyweds on the Dreamweaver quilt settled some of the fabric choices and the background. The Jen Kingwell pattern has disappearing 9 patches as the background, but that is a lot of cutting, sewing, rearranging and sewing back together to do for the expanded size I'm making for them.  I showed them another version with simple squares as the background to the appliqued Dreamweaver, and we settled on 3.5"squares.  For the 60x80" throw I plan to make, that means cutting a whole lotta squares--520, in fact!  I looked at a chart for fat quarters and it appears I can get 30 from each--and if I stack and cut them several at a time, the squares will add up even quicker.  Good thing I have plenty of fresh rotary cutter blades :)

In the meantime, the County  Fair started today, my sister Kathy went and told me she saw ribbons on my entries--all of them--but didn't tell me what they were.  She reported mostly 2nds and 3rds on her entries, and Honorable Mention.  Kathy said our older brother told her that "Honorable Mention is just the First Loser ribbon".  What a brat!   Hopefully I'll get down there tomorrow to see for myself how my entries did.  I'll take a First Loser over nothing :)

Friday, July 26, 2019

Scraps and Piecing

For relaxation sewing after the Fair Entry frenzy, I turned to my Log Cabin Loonies project box for some scrappy fun.  Julie from JulieKQuilts blog started this sewalong last August and I jumped in, happy to have a place to use all the 1.5" wide scraps.  That is the smallest size I save, but Julie made her blocks from 1" strips.  


So many great fabrics there.  I see my contrast isn't the best in some of them, but  in the quilt the humble blocks will go!  I planned an 8x10 block quilt but these Loonie Log Cabins keep multiplying as leader-enders and I'm not sure when the scraps will give out.  My blocks finish at an odd size of 7.5" but it won't matter when they're all sewn together. 

Cutting for the alternate hourglass block also got done for the Chunky Churndash quilt, using Bonnie Hunter's Essential Triangle tool.  I paired up strips cut to 3.5" wide and was able to get 10 triangles out of this, which makes 5 blocks.  

Mini is always helping hold things down for me :)  I'm liking the gray/brown neutral look.

Turning the hourglass block forms a square around the  Churndashes.  I'll try to keep the contrast strong between the background neutrals during the layout phase.  Lots more cutting and sewing to do before then, however.  Mini approves so far! 

Monday, July 22, 2019

Design Wall Monday--Fair Entries

It's Design Wall Monday.  I've been busy in the sewing room finishing up entries for our County Fair, so my Design Wall is now empty.  

Some projects I entered were already in progress and one quilt I borrowed back from the new owner.  A brand new project also jumped into the mix.  I finished an embroidery some months ago and decided to make a quilt with it.  I have a book by Pat Sloan that is all about novelty fabrics and includes what to do with panels.  I had some trouble with the math but the worst part of the whole process was when I could not find the shank attachment for my sewing machine feet, having taken off the walking foot.  It took easily 15 minutes of searching before I finally checked the box the walking foot came in, and there it was! 


I pulled the border fabrics from stash.  After auditioning numerous binding options, I picked an Alison Glass fat quarter, mostly because it was wide enough to help me enlarge the backing as well as making the binding.  

Very simple quilting and some corner triangles for hanging.    I'll enjoy putting this up on a wall when it returns from the Fair. 


 Another finish was making and adding binding to this baby quilt made from ModZ blocks from the Modern Quilt Guild. Luckily I had three strips of white fabric and a couple of small sections of green and love the way this turned out.
Fat quarter backing from stash.  This quilt may end up donated to guild if it isn't claimed by a family member!.

This Christmas Tree Skirt was started months ago and had reached the "needs binding made" stage.  I had left the quilted panel on the floor of my sewing room and the blasted cat peed on it! I had not cut out the center or panel opening and was able to put it through a soak and gentle washing, then I ironed it flat again to apply the binding.  I used Bonnie Hunter's method for figuring yardage for the bias binding.  However, I wanted to start with longer strips so upsized the width of the yardage to about 20 inches to get nice long pieces to join.  It was quite a struggle to get that bias binding on, I tell you, especially around the center! 


The plaid back makes the skirt reversible.  I only added one tie of the bias binding, but may add more.  The placemats for daughter Erica also got finished.  Naturally I had to go out and buy thread to match the purple binding.  I decided to wash said backing and was very glad I did!

 Look at all that dye!  This could have been a disaster on the light fabrics on the front.




Erica was very excited to know the placemats were finished  and was not happy when I told her I was holding some back for the Fair. "You can have two", she said, which I "ditto-ed" right back at her, with the caveat that possession is 9/10ths of the law, ha ha.  In the end, I dropped off two plaemats at her house and kept  the rest.  When turning in the placemats at the Fair, there was a needle and thread on one placemat that needed a corner sewn up, too funny!

The other three entries were the Falling Charms quilt I borrowed back,the mediallon quiltalong from guild that I spiral quilted some months ago, and the Sajou quiltalong quilt from Humble Quilts. 



I was the last person turning in quilting projects at the Fairgrounds today, luckily the head of the department and a local quilt teacher helped me to get them all checked in. The lighting is just awful in the building, so I wanted to document all my different quilts to date. 

See more Design Walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Fabric Hunt--Chunky Churndash

I have completed all the Churndash blocks for my version of Chunky Churndash, a free pattern from  Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville.com I'm making for my dad.  I showed him some stash fabric choices for the alternate hourglass block, and darned if he didn't pick a favorite of mine!

I have no recollection of where I found this fabric, I just loved the pomegranate and leaf on the pretty blue.  It has not been in stash long.  However, I only  have a one yard piece and need another yard.  I have been unable to find any online as this collection is from 2016, and Kim Diehl's recent collections do not contain a similar blue. I've been searching for a similar background color, but the slightly grayed down blue is quite elusive.  While shopping at my local fabric store today, the clerk went round and round pulling bolts and having no luck except for a tonal solid, which I didn't really want.  Giving up, I perused the clearance bolts and decided to change gears entirely when  I found this print: 




Eliza's Indigo by Betsy Chutchian.  The gray background has a blue tone to it and I actually like the smaller scale print as well.  I mocked up the alternate block at home. 

This not the cream print I'm using but is the same tone. 

All the scrappy blocks seem to play well with the gray print.  I'm sure my dad will like it just fine--he wasn't picky except didn't like the dark red I first showed him (lower right in the pic below).

I thought it would look great with his maroon couch but was given a pass on that idea :)  The alternate block fabrics are taking their turn in the laundry and then cutting will begin using Bonnie's Essential Triangle tool and matched 3.5" strips.  If my math is right (cough cough), I can get 9 quarter-square triangles from each strip.  I need 140+ for my layout.  There is plenty of both fabrics and if mistakes are made, I will be okay!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Design Wall Monday--Placemats

Design Wall Monday rolls around again....Off my design wall are the placemats for daughter Erica.  She had picked out some stash neutrals to go with the one mauve print in a jelly roll she liked. There were enough jelly roll strips for the mauve to bookend the neutrals.


I assembled all 6 placemat front pieces in one sweatshop sewing session!  My comment to Erica was that these looked like ice cream :)  I made the backs from the rest of the jelly roll pieces; Erica left the layout and fabric choices to me so I changed the orientation to horizontal. 

It was easiest to sandwich and quilt them in batches of two, since she wanted them to be all alike.  I used specialty quilting stitches on my machine, with cream thread.   In total there were five different stitches used; I kept track of the stitch number and setting information on an index card to ensure the placemats were uniform. 

Fortunately this was the only part of the job that involved ripping.  There may have been colorful euphemisms that accompanied the unsewing.  Ahem. 

All quilted now--showing three backs and three fronts.  I've got them trimmed to size and the binding fabric is being prepped. I'll apply the binding to the back and bring it to the front for a nice machine stitched finish.  Hope to have these done by next weekend--before the customer complaints roll in!

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

Friday, July 5, 2019

Rocking and Rolling and Sewing in California

Our Fourth of July started off with a bang from an earthquake yesterday midmorning--the epicenter was 180+ miles northwest of us in Ridgecrest but the house was swaying and rocking pretty well.  I was in my sewing room when my husband yelled "Earthquake!" just as I realized one was happening.  It lasted a good long time, the curtains on the sliding glass door swayed on and on.  We did not have any noticeable aftershocks of the 6.4 earthquake yesterday, though they were occurring, per the news.  Then this evening a second one hit harder.  I was in the powder room handwashing a tablerunner and held onto the sink until the swaying stopped, then joined my husband in the living/dining room where the chandelier and hallway lights were swinging.  No damage, but it was unnerving.  We soon learned it was a 7.1 magnitude quake, meaning the 6.4 yesterday was a foreshock, and tonight's was the real shock.  The basketball game in Las Vegas my husband was watching was postponed, and we saw a replay of the crowds at the Dodger Stadium reacting to the shaking.  The players didn't notice anything.

Aside from this excitement, Independence Day was pretty low key. I made cookies, then sewed binding on the tablerunner while sitting out on the patio, love doing that.  I purchased a box of  binding clips with a 50% off coupon at JoAnns and they are so handy.  Later we watched a movie and had a simple dinner.  As soon as dusk was dark enough, there was plenty of firecracker noise in the neighborhood, despite fireworks being illegal in all but one city in our county!  Our daughter posted that they had a peakaboo view from their new house of the City's fireworks program at the College.


Simple quilting with the walking foot. The HSTs were made from charm squares.  I won a huge stack of Dimples charm squares years ago at Superbuzzy and still have many left.  Can you find all five trapezoids I formed in the quilt?

Drat that stray thread!  For backing I used this newly purchased Cotton + Steel fabric I bought at the Picking Daisies shop in San Luis Obispo on the shop hop a few weeks ago.  The binding is an aqua solid I had in stash.  

I hand-bound the tablerunner and hope my niece and her new husband will enjoy it.  The wedding is quite a drive away, almost 3 hours by car taking about 10 different freeways.  If you have used Google Maps, you'll know that distances are given for different transportation methods, including walking.  Google helpfully noted that a person could walk the 152 miles in 2 days.  What???  This ridiculous estimate sent me down a rabbit hole, where I learned that the average man can walk 4 miles an hour.  Well, maybe if they didn't stop to rest, eat, sleep, eliminate, or talk to anyone it might be possible to walk that distance.  Not exactly realistic, Google, especially through Los Angeles!  We look forward to visiting with many folks we don't see often and helping the couple celebrate their union. Fingers crossed that the estimate of only a 5% chance of a larger size earthquake occurring is true!