Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Greenpiece Progress

Today was an All Sew Day, with the pleasure of assembling the last blocks for this well-aged Greenpiece BOM from the Fat Quarter Shop.  Looking back to 2011, December seems to be the theme with this UFO!

I laid out the blocks according to the finished image and placed my marked squares, taking them by rows to the sewing machine.  

All the pieced blocks have opposite layouts and are cleverly placed in opposing sets in the sections.  The same block in four colorways anchors the corners of the medallion center opening.  Such delicious colors.  Since this pic I added the corner squares to the last three wool applique blocks in the bottom row, and assembled the remaining sections.  A lot of leader-ender blocks got finished during this job. 

Feline QC was present for this stage.  Lots of scrappy variety in these Easy-Breezy blocks (Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville free pattern). 

The final section to finish the center is a tree trunk with grass appliqued on to a background, and more wool applique for the leaves. 

Fortunately I had left the fabric in its labeled month package kit.  I'll need to check if I have a large enough piece of fusible web to use for the tree and grass appliques.  The background fabric is the same cream as in all the wool applique blocks, but is reading very blue in this pic. The fabric on the left is two borders for the center section.

Blessings fabric for the grass...all fabrics are Moda. Perhaps by the end of January I'll have a finished top-there are two outer borders to add as well.  I'm starting to think about the quilting--I'll be sending this out for custom work.  I'll check with my fellow guild members for slots in their calendar. Backing will also need to be purchased.  

Tomorrow we will finish out 2020, saying good riddance for most of it!  Our newest grandson is, of course, one of the bright spots of the year!  I am going to reset my UFO list and consider another self-challenge in the new year.  Lots of quilt tops need finishing and there always new quilts being added to the list :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Design Wall Monday--Christmas, and After Christmas Sewing

It's Design Wall Monday--see more Design Walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog. 

Hoping all who celebrate enjoyed their abbreviated holiday traditions.  We had a socially distanced Christmas backyard BBQ in SoCal style, completed with a driftwood tree. 

 Hunter was checking out the packages while brother Cove looked on. 

Dane in his mama's arms, keeping cozy in the carrier.  

Grant bought an Elf hat and cracked up his daughters wearing it.  Someone has a pic of me in this family grouping of our kids, but  I haven't seen it yet :) 

Grandson #1 holding Grandson #3.  So cute!  It was quite windy intermittently outside, but we managed to enjoy all the dining and gift opening activities.  Later I socially-distance visited with my Mom and Dad, who were dining with my brother and sister.  We missed the usual large crowd but there is hope for next year!

My post-Christmas sewing room tasks included making pajama pants for the older grandsons, who are outgrowing last year's pair.  Hunter (age 4) called the plaid pajamas "square pants"--so ever after that is what they are!

This is a very cush woven plaid flannel and should keep him warm this winter.  I then turned to the design opportunity I had created for myself with Cove's Minecraft print pants during cutting last night: 

This was the Minecraft fabric I paid an exorbitant amount to have shipped from an out-of-state Etsy seller, having failed to find any through local or online retailers. Naturally there was not enough to recut the Back pieces. Sigh. Daughter Elaine opted for a strip of the same fabric to fix the error, which worked out okay.  The boys were excited to get their long-awaited replacements and put them on right away--Papa took pics but I don't have them yet. 

I have taken vacation this week--only working 1/2 day on Christmas Eve--and have several priority quilting projects to work on.  Number 1 is the Greenpiece BOM and I got to work on that after delivering the Square Pants. All the wool applique blocks' corner triangles needed to be added.  I marked a bunch of already cut squares and set to work. 

After finishing a few sets of corner triangles, it occurred to me that I should layout the blocks to prevent duplicate fabrics meeting in the corners. All the pieced blocks for this Fat Quarter Shop BOM I had finished years ago. Look how pretty they are with the wool blocks!

I'm so happy to be nearing an assembly portion.  There is a large appliqued medallion center that needs to be made before the top can be finished, but I can sew these completed blocks together in the meantime.  That will be tomorrow's task. Hooray!  I love piecing and got a bunch of leader-ender pieces ready too. Though Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville has just quilted her top made from Easy-Breezy blocks, I am still sewing mine.  Looking forward to lots of piecing!

Monday, December 21, 2020

Design Wall Monday--Now and Then Finish

It's Design Wall Monday.  See more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog. 

Several months ago I finished a quilt top for our daughter-in-law's expected nephew.  Said nephew has now arrived healthy and hale and it was time to get the quilt finished to give to her sister and her husband. 

I cropped a portion of the pattern by Victoria Findlay Wolf, redo of an antique quilt she called Now and Then, from APQ magazine July 2019.  I liked it in this pic in dappled afternoon sun, but the details didn't show up that well. 

The doubled nine patch I found so interesting as a design twist VFW made from the antique family quilt.  I used Kona Navy and a white crosshatch for the nine patches.  Choosing different straight line quilting designs took some thinking--and way more time than I thought to execute!

I took out the stitching in the rocket ship octagon three different times and still got the measurements wrong to center it--so it stayed!  The nine patch blocks were all ditch stitched, which left a lot of threads to deal with.  

After burying some threads but having lots of trouble with shredding, I cut most of them off as they had been secured while stitching. Originally I was thinking of using the rust print for binding, but am glad I went with the navy blue. 

A few peepee tepees will be made to accompany the baby quilt, which finished about 36" square. Welcome Ryland!  Hope to get to meet you someday when this pandemic ends. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

December Downers and Uppers

First the Downers!

Not too long after I posted on 12/7, my  Monday went to pieces.  The intermittent internet problems we had been having grew steadily worse, wifi dropped out every few seconds so nothing I typed would get saved.  I could not work doing telemedicine and had to call the cable company for troubleshooting.  Turns out our  combo router/modem was far outdated and failing, needing to be exchanged at their store.  

Then the power went out entirely for about an hour, a shutdown by the electric company due to high winds and fire danger.  I had to drive clear across town in the raging wind with palm fronds dropping on the freeway.  I made my exchange of equipment and got back on the freeway--but then my heart sank when I saw and smelled smoke as I neared home.  I learned by smartphone that it was 10 miles away in the next town.  

The wind caused a finch to be blown into our garage when I opened the door.  I had to leave it open to see if the bird would fly out--which it didn't for many hours.

Upon unpackaging the new modem and router, I followed instructions to plug everything in and called to activate it--but only got a recording saying it could not be activated due to outages in our area, so I had to take my laptop and actually go into the office to be able to work, for the first time since the pandemic shutdown in March!

The fire 10 miles away was caused by a falling tree branch hitting an electrical wire but did not spread too far, as firefighters were quickly after it. However, they closed the freeway a mile from our house and traffic heading east was backed up for quite a ways both on the freeway and surface streets.  Luckily my drive home was the opposite direction.  With an additional call to the cable company, and my husband's assistance, we were finally back in business.

And now the Uppers!

Oh,  the finch finally did leave the garage :)

This grandson came for a visit!  Papa got first dibs so I took photos. 

Dane was very interested in Papa's quilt on the sofa.  He was studying the patterns and checking my seam matching.  Mama Ashley monitored him well.  He's getting close to 4 months and is about to get a new cousin on the maternal side.   

Our other grandsons we visited at their house.  I had bought an advent calendar with chocolates and finally brought it to them.

Hunter (4) liked the tiny chocolates. 

He made the chocolates look bigger by using both hands to get them to his mouth.

Brother Cove (6) opened the door with the tiniest piece.  We enjoyed a lot of backyard time after they opened all the past days.  It was lovely to visit with our trio of brown-eyed grandsons.  

We made plans with to have a socially distant Christmas Eve BBQ in the backyard of their house this year--a definite upper!  I put out fewer Christmas decorations this year but changed up the ones in my sewing room--our former family room that has the fireplace. 

The wooden decor was a Secret Santa gift I received last year.  You can tell it's the sewing room by the ruler sticking up there, lol.

In the living room, Mini approves of Indoor Nature, and has been spending time lying on the quilted tree skirt.   She was there for hours one morning :)  

A little sparkle and plaid on the sideboard.  It has been very dry and windy so the only snow is the decorative type here in SoCal. 

Looking forward to the Covid vaccinations in the next few months and hopefully turning this shutdown in to a reopening in Spring.  What a year it has been!

Monday, December 7, 2020

Design Wall Monday--12/7/2020 Masks and Mishaps

 Design Wall Monday--see more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog.  

My design wall is bare.  I have a few masks in progress but otherwise spent most sewing room time cleaning off my cutting table.  There was lots of scrap sorting and cutting.  My sister caught me in her sewing room stuffing her "scraps" into a mailer.  She is allergic to small squares and strips so pitches what I would term "big" scraps--leftovers from mask making from fat quarters.  She also gifted me a few fat quarters of colors I haven't a lot of, and some metal nose pieces for masks.

I decided to make myself a Christmas mask and surveyed the family for any other mask requests.  Daughter Erica wanted another.  I sent her fabric choices from the fat quarter drawer in her favorite pinks/mauves.

She chose the third from the top right, which I knew she would!  I picked out a backing for her mask  but then had a mishap. 

Yes, you really should clear the mat of any pieces before laying out lining to trace and cut. I was disappointed because I had not much more than this left of the remnant and could not get two pieces recut. Of course nothing else similar could I find in my stash!

Some sewing did ensue, though nothing is yet complete.  It is very windy here today in SoCalif, and the threat of our power being shut off for fire danger is high.  I may or may not be working the whole day, but if I can catch some stitching time between patients, I will.  Later I'll try to get the Christmas tree trimmed.  The lights are always the hardest part, and that got done yesterday.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Greenpiece Progress

I managed to meet my desired deadline of November 30th to complete the remaining 4 wool applique blocks for the Greenpiece BOM, yay me!

The leaf blocks with interior details and the complex flower were joined by the final leaf and berry block--which I finished adding the detail backstitching to between telemedicine patients.  The blocks got trimmed to final size. 

So pleased to have completed all 20 after all these years.  I had to hunt back on the blog to find the post of the finished pieced blocks--December of 2012!  So pretty.

All the Moda block kits from the Fat  Quarter Shop were very generous and there are lots of leftovers.  I pulled the kits with the tree/grass medallion, already pieced borders, and the flange and outer border fabrics.  Goal for the month will be to complete the medallion (more wool applique to do!), and maybe add the assorted print corner triangles to the wool blocks. Eventually I'd like this quilt to hang in our bedroom.  I have had a queen size wooden quilt hanger that I bought from a co-worker since about the time I finished the pieced blocks.  My husband has questioned repeatedly if I still wanted it, every time we clean out the garage, and I tell him yes, I do, every time :)

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Slow Sunday Stitching --Greenpiece

Slow Sunday Stitching today.  See more great stitching projects on Kathy's Quilts blog.  

I had set myself a month-end deadline to complete the last four wool applique blocks on the Greenpiece BOM that has remained a UFO for 11 years.  A lot of post-Thanksgiving stitching took place the last couple of days.

The upper left and lower right blocks only need the overlapped leaf and stems to finish--with a bit of detail lines within to stitch.  The lower left flower needs the green leaves of the larger flower center stitched down, and a final set of small leaves will be added to the bud below it.

Naturally the last block has the most work!  Detail lines within the leaves, stitched stems between the leaves and stitching round those tiny berries yet to complete.  I'm going to use perle cotton for the red berries; hmm, I'll have to check if I have a dark brown perle cotton for those two berries.  Currently my embroidery thread is in three different places in the house, aside from the skeins placed with pattern and fabric in several bags.  One day I may find a better spot to keep it all handy--but not today!  These blocks will be trimmed to 8.5" once the wool applique is all done.  It feels great to be closer to assembling the long-finished pieced blocks with the wool applique blocks after all these years.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Thanksgiving in the Time of COVID-19

Our much scaled down Thanksgiving included only our offspring and their families, and we were happy to be able to host once more.  We discussed with the new parents especially the recommendations for setting up.  DIL Ashley had read that having each family use their own set of serving utensils was suggested.  Luckily, since we live in SoCalif, weather did not prevent our outdoor Thanksgiving.  We were able to easily space out tables on our patio, and spent little time inside, mainly just getting food.

The tables were bare at this point but soon filled up with diners. 

Grandson Dane (3 months) looked quite adorable in his button down onesie and khakis, shoes and hat!  He did very well through most of the ruckus; Mama even got to eat before nursing him.

Auntie Erica got in some snuggles with the little guy.  He's growing well and staying healthy.

Grandson Cove (6) had a great time rummaging through the toybox and coming up with different disguises.  He looks like a big bug here :)

Erica's boyfriend Ryan, son-in-law Chris, and DIL Ashley...pre dinner.


Grandson Hunter (4) provided music after spending most of the time running in the backyard--hence the pink cheeks :).  It was good to have them all here in a safe way.  Next year we hope hosting more family will be possible.  My brother and sister who live in town fixed dinner for our folks at their house, to good reviews, lol.

Hope everyone's abbreviated celebrations included plenty of yummy food and, of course, pie! Our Thankful Things this year included the safe birth of twin grand-nieces the day before Thanksgiving.  One is undersized and staying in the NICU for a few days, but otherwise both girls are healthy.  We haven't had a girl born in the family for about 14 years and to have two at once...that is special indeed.  

I have spent time with wool applique and will post about that next time.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Slow Sunday Stitching 11/22

Slow Sunday Stitching comes around again on Kathy's Quilts blog.  I just finished hand-stitching the binding on Twilight Hopscotch and am so happy to have a finished quilt to share. I completed the top in April 2019 and sent it off for quilting in September 2020, far too long a gap!

Pattern is from Kim Diehl's Simple Comforts book--I enlarged the lap quilt by one additional row--I'm a tall girl so need length for my lap :)

Quilting by David was the quilter.  I chose Paisley Feather to complement the piecing.  The print fabrics are from the Oh My Darling line by Connecting Threads, with Kitchen Twine as the neutral.  The quilt is getting its first bath--I haven't got a label made but that will need to be handstitched on later.  Kathy mentioned her favorite hand stitching tools--I love the Clover Protect and Grip Thimbles that are soft silicone with a metal top.  They do seem to disappear in the sewing room, I am down to one left!   Another just-back-from-the-quilter quilt awaits binding, but it is a large one and I'll machine bind that one.

Friday, November 20, 2020

November News

There has been just a little bit of stitching this 47th week of the year--mostly on a binding for the Twilight Hopscotch quilt in between telemedicine patients, with a few wool applique pieces as the whim strikes. I have been completely ignoring the messy piles in the sewing room.  How do they accumulate so fast?  Umm, can't be shopping related, right?

I hit Superbuzzy recently for some birthday discount shopping, picking up some red prints and solids, a baby print for some peepee teepees, and flannel for grandson Hunter's "square pants"--his term for plaid pajama pants  he wants me to make.  I took a trip to JoAnn's fabric for Minecraft print fabric for grandson Cove's pajama pants.  It was sold out  both in the store and online.  I struck out at the other fabric shop in town as well. Finally I checked on Etsy and found out the reason for the shortage: it appears crafters/makers are buying up yardage to resell for mask material and charging up the wazoo for 1/4 yard cuts of licensed prints!  It was pretty spendy to order a whole yard of fabric, but grandmas do what they must.

On my actual birthday, after a delicious homemade breakfast by hubby Grant, I went to donate blood, and got a special wrapping when finished:

Isn't that bow cute?  Today I got a text saying my donated whole blood had been sent to the hospital for a patient who needed a transfusion--love that they let me know.  

Later  on my birthday Grant and I  went down to the harbor for some ice cream sundaes and wandered along the docks--it was a beautiful sunny day with only a bit of a cool breeze.

There were lots of masked folks socially-distancing while strolling the sidewalk.  Our shadow selves are gazing East here towards the Topa Topa peaks in the background. 

In the far left of this photo, you can see the ice cream cone on the shop front; there was a wishing well with a continuous bubble machine entertaining the little kids, and every other person on the sidewalk had a dog or two. Most all the restaurants had outdoor areas for dining set up. It was great to get out of the house and enjoy a walk and then a drive around town.  As a special birthday week event, I finally got in to see daughter Elaine at the salon and get my wide gray stripe colored. Glad to feel I was looking younger while getting older :)

This weekend I hope to complete the last side and a half of the binding job on Twilight Hopscotch. 

The Paisley Feather quilting (done by Quilting by David) looks terrific and I can't wait to get the quilt washed and softened up, ready to use on the couch.  This pattern is from Kim Diehl's Simple Comforts book of lap quilts.  After that, I have another binding to make for the just returned Christmas quilt shown last post.  On the to do list is to finish another baby quilt and start on the square pants for Hunter while I wait for the Etsy delivery.  I enjoy variety in my sewing life breaking up the monotony of COVID lockdown.  Glad I have a productive hobby to keep sane!

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Slow Stitching Sunday

It has been some time since I joined Slow Stitching Sunday, though I generally do have some handwork going most of the time.  I have continued embroidery on the wool applique blocks from the well-aged Fat Quarter Quilt Shop Greenpiece BOM kit my husband bought me so many years ago.  This week I finished prepping the last four applique blocks, which made me very happy.  I used freezer paper for tracing and cutting the patterns, which worked very well.


I got the stem and small bud stitched down this week, and am working on the large flower center.  This one was finished today, the tiny berries and stems: 


Binding on this pillow cover also got finished.

This is a block from the Fall Dash Quilt by Sherri McConnell.  I made two pillow covers from the pattern in American Patchwork and Quilting magazine October 2019.  I love churn dash blocks of any kind!  All fabrics were from stash. 

See more Slow Stitchers' work on Kathy's Quilts' blog. Happy Sunday!

Some Sewing and Scenery

I've been spending little time in the sewing room lately, sewing a few blocks and rows together here and there, but not making much prog...